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Tort Law

Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5786

AC45845 - Northeast Building Supply, LLC v. Morrill ("The plaintiff, Northeast Building Supply, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying the application for a prejudgment remedy that it filed in accordance with General Statutes § 52-278a et seq. against the defendants, Maureen Morrill, Clifford Jones, Pullman & Comley, LLC, Attorney Irve Goldman, Attorney Bruce Diamond, and the Law Office of Bruce W. Diamond, LLC. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in denying its application for a prejudgment remedy when it concluded that (1) collateral estoppel barred the vexatious litigation claims it sought to bring against the defendants and (2) the attorney and law firm defendants—Pullman & Comley, LLC, Goldman, Diamond, and the Law Office of Bruce W. Diamond, LLC—had adequate insurance to secure any judgment that might be rendered against them.

The defendants argue that the court properly denied the plaintiff's application for a prejudgment remedy. They also, for the first time on appeal, raise a jurisdictional claim. They claim that the plaintiff lacked standing to assert the vexatious litigation claims against the defendants because those claims were assigned to the plaintiff from a different entity, Northeast Builders Supply & Home Centers, LLC (Home Centers).The defendants argue that the plaintiff's vexatious litigation claims constitute tort claims that involve alleged personal injuries unique to Home Centers. They further contend that Connecticut law makes clear that such tort claims may not be assigned. Consequently, the defendants maintain that the plaintiff lacks standing to pursue its application for a prejudgment remedy.

For the reasons that follow, we agree with the defendants that the plaintiff lacks standing to pursue the application for a prejudgment remedy and, consequently, that the trial court was without subject matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to that court with direction to render judgment dismissing the plaintiff's application.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5773

AC46440 - Cameron v. Santiago ("The self-represented plaintiff, Catherina Cameron, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing, sua sponte, her action against the defendant, Javier Santiago. On appeal, she claims that the court deprived her of procedural due process by sua sponte dismissing her action, with prejudice, without giving her notice and an opportunity to be heard with respect to the grounds on which the court based its dismissal. We agree with the plaintiff and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5768

AC45538 - Silano v. Cooney ("The self-represented plaintiff, Virginia Silano, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Kevin Hammel on count two of the plaintiff's complaint alleging malicious prosecution. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant on her malicious prosecution claim, (2) rejected her arguments with respect to intentional spoliation, and (3) admitted into evidence the defendant's contemporaneous notes regarding his viewing of a surveillance video that the plaintiff contends the defendant failed to preserve. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5712

AC45491, AC45492 - Ciara v. Atlantic Motors, LLC (“These two appeals arise from consolidated cases. The plaintiffs in the respective actions, Nancy Ciara and Jeryd Griffin, appeal from the judgments of the trial court in favor of the defendants New England Property, LLC (New England Property), Edmond Ferati, Balkiz Ferati, and Rini Ferati. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred in (1) declining to enforce subpoenas to compel the attendance of the defendants at trial and (2) failing to admit Carfax reports into evidence at trial. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5699

AC45401 - Lafferty v. Jones (“The defendant Alex Jones appeals from the judgments of the trial court, Bellis, J., granting the joint motion for contempt filed by the plaintiffs for the defendant’s violation of the court’s orders to attend a deposition scheduled on March 23 and 24, 2022. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) abused its discretion by holding him in contempt of court for failing to appear at his deposition after the court was provided an affidavit and two letters from his physicians attesting that he was too ill to attend the deposition, and (2) violated his due process rights by not requesting additional information from his physicians regarding his medical condition prior to holding him in contempt. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Quo Warranto Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5678

AC45662 - Speer v. Brown Jacobson P.C. ("The self-represented plaintiff, Sheri Speer, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing, on the grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel, her quo warranto action challenging the qualifications of the defendants Brown Jacobson P.C. (Brown Jacobson) and one of its attorneys, Aimee Wickless, to serve as corporation counsel for the defendant city of Norwich (city). On appeal, the plaintiff claims, inter alia, that the court improperly concluded that her claims are barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. We agree and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5670

AC44732 - River Front Development, LLC v. New Haven Police Dept. ("In this negligence action arising out of a police pursuit, the plaintiffs, River Front Development, LLC, and Ferehteh Bekhrad, appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants Officer Michael Criscuolo of the New Haven Police Department and the city of New Haven (city) on the basis of discretionary act immunity. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly concluded that qualified immunity barred the defendants from being held liable for the plaintiffs' alleged damages. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court with respect to the defendants.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5656

SC20676 - Barash v. Lembo ("The primary issue in this appeal is whether the trustee of an inter vivos trust that is the residuary beneficiary of the estate of the settlor-decedent has a duty to protect and collect assets that have not yet been transferred to the trust. After providing for the payment of debts and taxes and setting forth a number of specific bequests, the will of the decedent, Richard Ripps, who died in 2006, bequeathed the residue of his estate to an amended and restated revocable trust benefiting his three children, the plaintiffs Jennie R. Ripps, Michael J. Ripps, and Elizabeth J. Ripps (trust beneficiaries).The present action and five other consolidated cases concern the proper administration of that portion of the decedent's residuary estate that has not yet been distributed to the trust. In particular, the undistributed assets consist of a 49 percent interest in certain commercial real estate development projects (residuary assets), including properties owned by Evergreen Walk, LLC (Evergreen Walk), Northern Hills, LLC (Northern Hills), and M/S Town Line Associates, LLC (M/S Town Line Associates) (collectively, commercial assets).

Approximately seventeen years later, the estate has not yet settled. In 2018, the trust beneficiaries and their mother, the plaintiff Susan Shapiro Barash, one of three cotrustees of the Richard Ripps Amended and Restated Revocable Trust Dated February 8, 2008, filed this action in the Superior Court, alleging that the defendant and cotrustee, Barbara Lembo, breached her fiduciary duty as trustee by failing to protect and collect trust property, to investigate or ask questions regarding the alleged misconduct of the executor of the estate, Laurence P. Rubinow, and to seek recovery from and hold Rubinow accountable for any damages sustained by the trust as a result of the alleged misconduct. The plaintiffs sought damages and the removal of the defendant as cotrustee. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the defendant, who was the decedent's widow, on the basis of its conclusion that the defendant, as a trustee, had no duty, prior to the distribution of the residuary assets, to take any action against Rubinow with respect to those assets—including investigating, questioning or monitoring Rubinow's administration of the estate, or, as the trial court stated, to "[s]hap[e]" or "gather" the property that has not yet poured over into the trust.

We agree with the plaintiffs that the trial court incorrectly concluded that, as a matter of law, no material issue of fact remained as to whether the defendant owed the trust beneficiaries a duty to collect and protect the prospective trust property in the residuary estate. We also conclude that the complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action against the defendant for breach of her fiduciary duty as trustee. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5652

AC45838 - Stanley v. Scott (“Although it is difficult to discern from the plaintiff’s appellate brief, the plaintiff appears to claim that the defendants, assistant state’s attorneys who prosecuted the plaintiff, illegally obtained his cell phone records and used them against him in his underlying criminal prosecution. The defendants contend, inter alia, that the plaintiff has abandoned his claims on appeal because he failed to adequately brief them. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the defendants that the plaintiff has failed to adequately brief any cognizable claim of error in relation to the court’s rendering of judgment in favor of the defendants and, therefore, has abandoned any claim on appeal. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5634

AC45341 - Dusto v. Rogers Corp. (“The plaintiff, Lana Kelly, acting in her capacity as executor of the estates of Harold Dusto and his wife, Anita Dusto,1 appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of Harold Dusto’s employer, Rogers Corporation (Rogers), and the judgment of dismissal rendered in favor of Special Electric Company, Inc. (Special Electric), which sold asbestos materials to Rogers. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment in favor of Rogers on the ground that her claims against Rogers were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-275 et seq., and (2) dismissed her claims against Special Electric for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We agree with the plaintiff that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether her claims against Rogers satisfied the substantial certainty exception to the exclusivity provision of the act, and we therefore reverse the summary judgment rendered in favor of Rogers. We affirm the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against Special Electric.”)

  • AC45341 - Dusto v. Rogers Corp. — Concurrence & Dissent


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5627

AC45350 - Christian v. Iyer (Vexatious litigation; “On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred (1) in concluding that the defendants established the defense of good faith reliance on advice of counsel because it failed to apply the correct legal standard or make the requisite findings, and (2) by failing to apply the doctrine of collateral estoppel on the basis of a judgment in their favor in a prior trespass action brought against them by the defendants. We agree with the plaintiffs with respect to their first claim, but we disagree as to their second claim. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgment of the court and remand the case for a new trial.”)


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5622

SC20642 - Companions & Homemakers, Inc. v. A&B Homecare Solutions, LLC ("This is an appeal from a judgment, rendered after a bench trial, awarding damages to the plaintiff, Companions and Homemakers, Inc. (Companions), for tortious interference with contractual and business relations and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. The defendant, A&B Homecare Solutions, LLC (A&B), doing business as Northwest Homecare, raises four claims of error: (1) the trial court improperly found that A&B's misrepresentations were tortious because it did not owe a legal duty of disclosure to Companions, (2) the evidence was insufficient to establish that A&B's allegedly tortious interference caused Companions to suffer any losses or damages, (3) there was no violation of CUTPA because there was no tortious interference, and (4) the trial court improperly found that A&B had tortiously interfered with noncompete agreements between Companions and its employees because those agreements are void as against public policy. We affirm the judgment of the trial court."


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5579

AC45318 - AAA Advantage Carting & Demolition Service, LLC v. Capone ("The defendant, Joseph Capone, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, AAA Advantage Carting & Demolition Service, LLC, on its amended complaint asserting claims of (1) conversion and (2) statutory theft in violation of General Statutes § 52-564. The defendant claims that the court (1) improperly concluded that two savings statutes, General Statutes § 52-591 and/or General Statutes § 52-592, applied to save the present action from being time barred pursuant to the three year limitation period of General Statutes § 52-577, (2) improperly concluded that the plaintiff's claims were not barred pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata, (3) made a clearly erroneous factual finding in concluding that the defendant had committed statutory theft, and (4) erred in awarding damages, including prejudgment interest pursuant to General Statutes § 37-3a, to the plaintiff. We conclude that the trial court committed error only with respect to its award of damages to the plaintiff and, therefore, we reverse the judgment as to damages only.")

AC45354 - Hughes v. Board of Education ("The plaintiffs, Naionna Hughes and her mother, Juanita Jones,1 appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants, the Board of Education of the City of Waterbury (board), the city of Waterbury (city), Irena Varecka, and Jessica Giorgi. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly granted the defendants’ motion to strike their complaint on the ground of governmental immunity. More specifically, they contend that the court improperly concluded that the identifiable victim subject to imminent harm exception to governmental immunity did not apply. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Medical Malpractice Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5577

SC20772 - Escobar-Santana v. State ("General Statutes § 4-160 (f) waives the state's sovereign immunity with respect to qualified medical malpractice actions and allows such actions to proceed against the state without the need for prior authorization from the Claims Commissioner. The statute also expressly provides that "[a]ny such action shall be limited to medical malpractice claims only . . . ." General Statutes § 4-160 (f). The primary question presented by this interlocutory appeal is whether the statutory phrase "medical malpractice claims" is broad enough to encompass a mother's allegation that she suffered emotional distress damages from physical injuries to her child that were proximately caused by the negligence of health care professionals during the birthing process. We hold that claims alleging such damages can qualify as medical malpractice claims for purposes of § 4-160 (f). Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court properly denied the motion of the defendant, the state of Connecticut, to dismiss the second count of the complaint of the plaintiffs, Celine Escobar-Santana (Escobar-Santana) and her son, Emmett Escobar-Santana (Emmett), because the plaintiffs alleged a valid medical malpractice claim in that count.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5556

AC45296 - Elwell v. Kellogg (Vexatious litigation; “On appeal, the plaintiff principally claims that the court improperly (1) denied her motion for partial summary judgment and granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment directed to count two of her complaint sounding in vexatious litigation and (2) granted the defendant’s motion to strike count three of her complaint asserting a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC45180 - A Better Way Wholesale Autos, Inc. v. Better Business Bureau of Connecticut (“On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) failed to consider each defamatory statement contained in the plaintiff’s complaint, and (2) determined that the rating issued by BBB to the plaintiff, in the form of a letter grade, was a nonactionable expression of an opinion, not a statement of fact. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5553

SC20753 - Adesokan v. Bloomfield ("We now take up the issue, left open by our recent decisions in Daley v. Kashmanian, 344 Conn. 464, 280 A.3d 68 (2022), and Borelli v. Renaldi, 336 Conn. 1, 243 A.3d 1064 (2020), of whether the special defense of governmental immunity for discretionary acts; see General Statutes § 52-557n (a) (2) (B); bars claims of negligence against drivers operating an "emergency vehicle" pursuant to the privileges provided by the emergency vehicle statute, General Statutes § 14-283. The plaintiff, Marline Adesokan, individually and on behalf of her two minor children, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendants, the town of Bloomfield (town), the Bloomfield Police Department, and one of its police officers, Jonathan W. Sykes. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, in part because the court misapplied Borelli in determining that Sykes' "duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property" in accordance with § 14-283 (d) was discretionary in nature for purposes of governmental immunity under § 52-557n (a) (2) (B).We conclude that the defense of discretionary act immunity provided by § 52-557n (a) (2) (B) does not apply to claims arising from the manner in which an emergency vehicle is operated under the privileges provided by § 14-283. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5549

AC45127 - Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park LLC v. Borodkin (“The plaintiff, Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park, LLC (Brownstone), appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its application to compel arbitration of a dispute involving the defendant, Diane Borodkin, who previously had filed an action against Brownstone for personal injuries (personal injury action) that she allegedly sustained when she slipped and fell on an unmarked tree root while walking on a path just past the entrance to a park owned and operated by Brownstone. Brownstone filed its application pursuant to General Statutes § 52-410 seeking to compel arbitration of the dispute in accordance with an agreement that Borodkin signed when she entered the park, which was titled ‘‘Release and Waiver of Claims Arising From Inherent Risks, Indemnity and Arbitration Agreement’’ (agreement). The trial court found the language of the arbitration provision in the agreement to be ambiguous and, as a result, concluded that the issue of arbitrability was a matter for the court to decide. The court further determined that the claim was not arbitrable because it did not fall within the scope of the agreement. Finally, the court concluded, sua sponte, that Brownstone’s application also must be denied on procedural grounds.

On appeal, Brownstone claims that (1) the court erred by concluding that the issue of arbitrability was a matter for the court, not the arbitrators, to decide, and (2) the court erred in denying its application to compel arbitration on procedural grounds. We agree with both of these claims and, thus, reverse the judgment of the court.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5538

AC45400 - Stevens v. Khalily (“On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly struck counts nine and twelve, which alleged defamation against Shahram and Diana respectively, for failure to plead defamation with the requisite specificity. The plaintiff argues that counts nine and twelve of the operative complaint ‘‘adequately identify the alleged defamatory statements, who made them and to whom they were made, which is what is required of defamation pleadings under Connecticut law and practice.’’ We conclude that the court properly granted the motion to strike counts nine and twelve because the plaintiff has failed to plead reputational harm, an element required to establish a prima facie case of defamation at common law. Because the plaintiff has failed to plead all four elements of defamation, we need not reach the plaintiff’s claim that the court improperly granted the motion to strike on the grounds that he failed to plead the elements of defamation with the requisite specificity. We affirm the judgment of the court.”)


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5500

SC20705 - Khan v. Yale University (“Although the Second Circuit also asked us to answer whether, under Connecticut law, a proceeding before a nongovernmental entity could ever be deemed quasi-judicial for purposes of affording absolute immunity to proceeding participants; id., 833; we conclude that it is unnecessary to answer that question in order to resolve whether Yale’s UWC proceeding was quasi-judicial. Instead, we answer the certified questions focusing on the requirements that any proceeding must satisfy to be considered quasi-judicial.”)


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5491

AC45265 - Ammar I. v. Dept. of Children & Families ("In this discrimination action, the defendant, the Department of Children and Families, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion to dismiss the complaint filed by the self-represented plaintiff, Ammar I., and from the court's denials of two of its motions to reargue. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in concluding that (1) the litigation privilege did not bar the plaintiff's claims, (2) sovereign immunity did not bar the plaintiff's claim for money damages brought pursuant to General Statutes §§ 46a-58 (a) and 46a-71 (a), and (3) the plaintiff had standing to maintain this action following the termination of his parental rights. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the defendant on its first claim and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC45319 - Cornelius v. Markle Investigators, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Charles Cornelius, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants Markle Investigations, Inc. (Markle), and Hopkins School, Inc. (Hopkins School).On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants as to the plaintiff's claim of invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion because genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether (1) the defendants' alleged intrusion was intentional, (2) the defendants' surveillance of the plaintiff solely in public was an actionable intrusion, and (3) the defendants' surveillance of the plaintiff was highly offensive to a reasonable person. We disagree with the plaintiff as to his claims regarding whether there was an actionable intrusion and whether such intrusion was highly offensive and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")