The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=325

AC36749, AC37140, AC37141, AC37142, AC37143, AC37144, AC37145, AC37146, AC37147, AC37148, AC37149, AC37150, AC37151 - R.T. Vanderbilt Co. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. ("The present action arises from thousands of underlying lawsuits alleging injuries from exposure to industrial talc mined and sold by the plaintiff, R.T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc. (Vanderbilt), that purportedly contained asbestos. In this interlocutory appeal, Vanderbilt and the defendants, approximately thirty insurance companies that issued comprehensive general liability insurance policies to Vanderbilt between 1948 and 2008, are seeking, among other things, a declaratory judgment determining their respective obligations with regard to the underlying actions. Through a series of bifurcation orders, the trial court, Shaban, J., divided the trial into four phases, and the case reaches us now, following the second phase of the trial, on the parties’ appeals and cross appeals from several decisions of the court. Before the trial proceeds further, the parties ask that we address approximately twenty issues—primarily questions of law—that will significantly impact the adjudication of the remaining trial phases. These issues present a number of questions of first impression in Connecticut and, in some instances, nationally. Although most relate to the methodology by which insurance obligations are to be allocated with respect to long latency asbestos related claims that implicate multiple policy periods, the parties also challenge the trial court’s rulings with respect to the interpretation of various scope of coverage and exclusion provisions in the Vanderbilt policies, whether certain of the primary policies have been exhausted, and other evidentiary and miscellaneous issues. As detailed more fully hereinafter, we affirm in part and reverse in part the rulings of the trial court.")


Contract Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=324

SC19700 - Horner v. Bagnell ("In this appeal, we consider whether an attorney, who represented clients in contingency fee matters that originated while he was a member of a two person law firm and continued to represent them after the dissolution of that firm, is obligated to share a portion of those fees with his former law partner when those fees were not paid until after the firm’s dissolution. The defendant, Jeffrey S. Bagnell, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, awarding the plaintiff, Stephen P. Horner, damages in the amount of $116,298.89. On appeal, the defendant contends that the award, predicated on a theory of unjust enrichment, was improper because contingency fee matters are the property of the client, rather than the law firm, and the award violated the fee splitting provisions of rule 1.5 (e) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Guided by the commentary to rule 1.5 (e) and the well established line of authority following Jewel v. Boxer, 156 Cal. App. 3d 171, 203 Cal. Rptr. 13 (1984), we conclude that the trial court properly awarded the plaintiff a portion of the contingency fees that the defendant collected subsequent to the dissolution of the firm. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38085 - Meridian Partners, LLC v. Dragone Classic Motorcars, Inc.("The defendants, Dragone Classic Motorcars, Inc., Dragone Vintage Cars, NV, Inc., and Emanuel Dragone, appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying their motion to vacate a settlement agreement that was entered into between the defendants and the plaintiff, Meridian Partners, LLC. The plaintiff has filed a cross appeal, challenging the denial of its motion for contempt. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Attorney Discipline Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=323

AC38387 - Disciplinary Counsel v. Sporn ("The respondent, Judith B. Sporn, appeals from the judgment of the trial court suspending her from the practice of law for violating several Rules of Professional Conduct and Practice Book § 2-27. She claims on appeal that the court abused its discretion by: (1) granting the motion in limine of the petitioner, Disciplinary Counsel, seeking to preclude proposed expert testimony on the subject of immigration law; and (2) imposing a two year suspension. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=322

AC38789 - State v. McCoy (Murder; subject matter jurisdiction; claim that prosecutorial impropriety during state's questioning of witness and in closing argument deprived defendant of constitutional right to fair trial; "The defendant, Kenneth Lee McCoy, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a). The defendant claims that (1) the state engaged in prosecutorial misconduct, thereby depriving him of his due process right to a fair trial, and (2) the court erred in dismissing his motion for a new trial for lack of jurisdiction. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39290 - State v. Johnson (Murder; felony murder; robbery in first degree; carrying pistol without permit; "The defendant, Rashid A. Johnson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (2) and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35. The defendant claims on appeal that the trial court erred in (1) admitting hearsay testimony into evidence and (2) excluding evidence that the police failed to properly investigate another party whom they considered a suspect. We disagree. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=321

AC39276, AC39787 - In re Henrry P. B.-P. (Child neglect; "These appeals highlight the limitations that courts encounter when relevant statutes provide rights, opportunities, or protections for minor children that end when they reach the age of majority, thus losing their status as juveniles...The law that we are constrained to apply, as an intermediate appellate court, in our plenary review of the relevant legal issues raised in these consolidated appeals is set forth in two recent Supreme Court opinions, In re Jose B., 303 Conn. 569, 34 A.3d 975 (2012), and In re Jessica M., 303 Conn. 584, 35 A.3d 1072 (2012). See also In re Pedro J. C., 154 Conn. App. 517, 543 n.22, 105 A.3d 943 (2014). We conclude, on the basis of that law, that after Henrry reached the age of majority, the Probate Court lacked statutory authority to make the findings required by the petitions filed by his mother, the petitioner, Reyna P. A., to appoint a coguardian for Henrry, and to consider and make the special immigration juvenile status (juvenile status) findings permitted by General Statutes § 45a-608n (b) for minor children. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the Superior Court dismissing the appeals from the decisions of the Probate Court.")


Workers' Compensation Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=320

SC19682 - Staurovsky v. Milford Police Dept. (Workers' Comp; “On appeal, the plaintiff, who is a retired police officer who had been employed by the named defendant, the Milford Police Department, claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that he was not entitled to heart and hypertension benefits after suffering a myocardial infarction shortly after his retirement. Id., 208–209. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the Appellate Court improperly followed its decision in Gorman v. Waterbury, 4 Conn. App. 226, 231–32, 493 A.2d 286 (1985), in determining that General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 7-433c required him to prove that his heart disease or hypertension caused him to suffer from death or disability while he was actively employed as a police officer.”)



LexisNexis Practice Guide: Connecticut Family Law

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=318

The 2017 edition of LexisNexis Practice Guide: Connecticut Family Law has been received by many of our law libraries. Each chapter of this guide offers analysis, strategies, checklists, and tips. The table of contents is listed below:

Chapter 1 Marriage
Chapter 2 Jurisdiction
Chapter 3 Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation
Chapter 4 Pretrial Pleadings and Discovery
Chapter 5 Alimony
Chapter 6 Division of Property
Chapter 7 Child Support
Chapter 8 Custody and Visitation
Chapter 9 Adoption
Chapter 10 Paternity
Chapter 11 Surrogacy and Gestational Agreements
Chapter 12 Agreements
Chapter 13 Same-Sex Dissolution Issues
Chapter 14 Alternative Dispute Resolution
Chapter 15 Counsel Fees
Chapter 16 Appellate Procedure
Chapter 17 Enforcement of Orders
Chapter 18 Divorce Taxation
Chapter 20 Forms


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=316

AC38488 - Weihing v. Preto-Rodas ("The plaintiff, Kristina Weihing, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Robert J. Preto-Rodas and Margaret Preto-Rodas, in this action brought pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) admitted photographs of the defendants' dog and (2) denied her motion to set aside the jury's verdict and for a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=315

SC19661 - ARS Investors II 2012-1 HVB, LLC v. Crystal, LLC (" In this appeal, we consider whether a trial court may render a judgment of foreclosure on mortgaged property that consists of parcels of land within a subdivision that has not been approved by municipal zoning authorities. We conclude that our law permits a trial court to order foreclosure in such circumstances.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=317

AC36987 - State v. Rios (Assault in first degree; assault in second degree; reckless endangerment in first degree; "The defendant, Alberto Rios, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1), assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2), and three counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-63 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial because the jury's verdict on several counts was legally inconsistent, and he was not afforded sufficient notice of the charges brought against him, (2) the trial court improperly permitted the state to question the defendant about the credibility of another witness and the defendant's tattoos, (3) the trial court improperly instructed the jury regarding the scope of his duty to retreat before engaging in self-defense, (4) prosecutorial improprieties during the trial deprived him of due process, and (5) this court should exercise its supervisory authority over the administration of justice and order a new trial because of the prosecutor's alleged pattern of improper conduct in this case and other cases. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=314

AC39020 - David N.J v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; ineffective assistance; "He claims that the court improperly rejected his claim that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by (1) failing adequately to cross-examine the victim and others regarding the victim’s version of events, and (2) failing adequately to cross-examine VJ, the victim’s brother. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=313

AC39020 - In re Unique R. (Termination of parental rights; "In this appeal from the judgment of the trial court terminating his parental rights to his minor daughter, Unique R., the respondent father, Samuel M., claims that the court erred in concluding, as required to support a judgment of termination under General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (1), that the Department of Children and Families (department) made reasonable efforts to reunify him with his daughter, in accordance with General Statutes § 17a-111b (a), before the Commissioner of Children and Families (petitioner) initiated termination proceedings against him. The respondent contends, more specifically, that the department's efforts to reunify him with his daughter were not reasonable because it failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the availability and suitability of two of his relatives, his mother and his sister, Jennifer D., to serve as possible placement resources for Unique after she was taken into the petitioner's custody pursuant to an ex parte order of temporary custody at an earlier stage of the investigation that led ultimately to the filing of a termination petition against him. The respondent claims that the department's failure to conduct an adequate investigation into the availability and suitability of his mother and his sister to serve as possible placement resources for Unique, after he had provided their names and contact information to the department for that purpose, precluded the trial court from finding that the department had made reasonable efforts to reunify him with his daughter, and thus requires this court to reverse the trial court's judgment terminating his parental rights.

We disagree with the respondent for two primary reasons. First, the department's investigation of relative resources is not aimed at the reunification of the child with his or her parent and is therefore not a necessary consideration when determining whether to terminate a parent's parental rights. Second, even if the department's alleged failure to exercise due diligence in investigating relative resources was a proper consideration in assessing the reasonableness of its efforts to reunify the respondent with his daughter, said assessment is based upon a totality of the circumstances, taking multiple factors into consideration. We thus affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Newest OLR Research Reports

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=312

The Office of Legislative Research has released several new research reports, backgrounders and issue briefs during the first part of February. They include:

Issue Brief: CGS 8-30g The Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure - 2017-R-0013

Honor Guard at Veterans' Funerals- 2017-R-0036 - Provide background information on what federal law requires for veterans’ funerals and the states that provide additional benefits.

Automobile Liability Insurance Requirements in Other States - 2017-R-0050 - This report identifies the states that require people to purchase (1) auto liability insurance, (2) uninsured motorist coverage, and (3) underinsured motorist coverage. For the states that require auto liability insurance, it lists the minimum levels of insurance required by law.

Medicaid Glossary - 2017-R-0053 - This report provides a glossary of acronyms associated with Connecticut’s Medicaid program. The table includes their terms and definitions. It also includes links to relevant information.

Inmate Sentence Reduction Methods- 2017-R-0054 - Provide (1) a history of inmate sentence reduction methods including good conduct credits and the risk reduction earned credit (RREC) program and (2) information about current RREC policies.

Crime Victim Compensation - 2017-R-0055 - Provide a summary of the crime victim compensation limits in Connecticut (including any recent changes to the limits under CGS § 54-211), Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.

Wrongful Incarceration Compensation - 2017-R-0057 - Summarize the wrongful incarceration compensation statutes in Connecticut and other states.

Sober Houses - 2017-R-0051 - This report provides information on (1) the structure and government oversight of Connecticut’s "sober houses" and (2) recent legislation considered in Connecticut and other states.



Encyclopedia of Connecticut Causes of Action - 2017 Edition

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=311

Our law libraries have received the 2017 edition of The Encyclopedia of Connecticut Causes of Action. This reference book lists civil causes of action, including the elements of each action and the statute of limitation when applicable. The notes section for each entry includes relevant case law. This one-volume title is divided into three sections, common law actions, statutory actions and administrative appeals.


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=310

AC38201 - Chang v. Chang ("The defendant, David Chang, appeals from the financial orders entered in connection with the judgment rendered by the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Melissa Chang. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) determined that the premarital agreement between the parties was unenforceable because his disclosure of certain assets was inadequate, and (2) concluded that it could award alimony and divide certain solely owned assets even if the premarital agreement was enforceable. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=309

AC37982 - State v. Patterson (Burglary in second degree; attempt to commit larceny in fifth degree; "The defendant, Clarence Malcolm Patterson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of burglary in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-102 and one count of attempted larceny in the fifth degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 and 53a-125a. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress two photographic lineup identifications and one private actor identification, (2) the state improperly cross-examined his expert witness when it questioned him about the opinions of other experts and about a hypothetical question that included facts not in evidence, and (3) the prosecutor engaged in multiple acts of prosecutorial impropriety. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=308

AC37032 - James v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court abused its discretion by denying his petition for certification to appeal and that the court improperly determined that his trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to pursue the petitioner’s trial objective or to seek a jury instruction on parental discipline/justification. Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we conclude that the habeas court properly denied the petition for certification to appeal. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal... The petitioner next claims that the habeas court improperly determined that the petitioner’s trial counsel did not render ineffective assistance by failing to seek a jury instruction on parental discipline/justification pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-18 (1) although the facts of the case supported it. In response, the respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, contends that defense counsels’ decision not to seek the instruction was reasonable trial strategy, and that, even if they should have requested the instruction, it is not reasonably probable that the result of the underlying criminal trial would have been different. We agree with the respondent that the petitioner failed to satisfy the prejudice prong of the Strickland test. ")


New Probate Fees Online Calculator

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=307

The Connecticut Probate Courts have introduced a new online calculator that allows the user to estimate probate fees for certain Probate Court matters. You can use the calculator to estimate fees for probating decedents' estates, accounts/financial reports, and document recording. It also includes information on filing and copying fees. The Probate Courts' page on Probate Fees and Expenses provides the statutory authority for the fee amounts.

It is important to note that, while the calculator can provide useful estimates, you should still contact the Probate Court directly for the exact fee amount.


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