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Recent Opinions

Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3231

AC40184 - Agosto v. Premier Maintenance, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Ismael Agosto, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Premier Maintenance, Inc., on all counts of the second revised complaint in which the plaintiff alleged religious discrimination in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) utilized the pretext/McDonnell Douglas-Burdine model; Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 252–56, 101 S. Ct. 1089, 67 L. Ed. 2d 207 (1981); McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973); rather than the mixed-motive/Price Waterhouse model of analysis; Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 246, 109 S. Ct. 1775, 104 L. Ed. 2d 268 (1989); when adjudicating the defendant's motion for summary judgment, (2) improperly concluded that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to the circumstances under which he was discharged from employment that give rise to a prima facie inference of religious discrimination and (3) improperly concluded that there were no genuine issues of material fact that he was not engaged in a protected activity that gave rise to a claim of retaliatory discharge. We disagree, and thus affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3229

AC38325 - Seven Oaks Enterprises, L.P. v. DeVito ("The defendant Sherri DeVito appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered, after a jury trial, in favor of the plaintiffs, Seven Oaks Enterprises, L.P. (SOE), and Seven Oaks Management Corporation (SOM), on two counts alleging breach of contract and one count alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The jury awarded $1.325 million in damages to the plaintiffs. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) abused its discretion in denying the defendant's motion to set aside the verdict and her motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict because the plaintiffs did not produce the original note at trial, there was insufficient evidence that the note was lost, and the plaintiffs did not have the right to enforce the note; (2) incorrectly instructed the jury regarding SOM's right to enforce the note; (3) lacked subject matter jurisdiction over SOE because it did not have the legal capacity to commence and continue the action; and (4) abused its discretion in denying her motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and in refusing to set aside the verdict because neither plaintiff had a right to enforce the management contract, the alleged breaches did not cause any loss to the plaintiffs, and the jury could not determine with reasonable certainty the amount of damages sustained. We affirm the judgment as to SOE's claim regarding breach of the management contract and reverse as to SOE's claim of breach of contract regarding the note and all of SOM's claims.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3227

AC40573 - Chamerda v. Opie (Slander of title; "The plaintiff Kimberly Chamerda inherited certain real property from her aunt, Elsie Nemeth. The defendant John Opie, who owned an adjacent parcel, hired the defendant Norbert W. Church, Jr., an attorney, to commence a legal challenge to the plaintiff's ownership of part of the property. After that action eventually was withdrawn, the plaintiff brought the present action in the Superior Court against Opie and Church for slander of title. The plaintiff now appeals from the judgment of dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, claiming that the trial court erred by (1) concluding that the defendants were entitled to absolute or qualified immunity, or both, and (2) failing to apply the law of the case doctrine to bar the defendants from raising the immunity defense in their joint motion to dismiss where they had made nearly identical arguments in earlier motions for summary judgment. In addition to responding to the plaintiff's claims on appeal, the defendants raise an alternative ground on which to affirm the judgment: They claim that the court erred by denying their motions for summary judgment where their actions were privileged or the statute of limitations had run, or both. Although we agree with the plaintiff that the trial court erred in concluding that the challenged actions were absolutely privileged and therefore that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction, we nevertheless agree with the defendants that they were entitled to summary judgment on the statute of limitations ground. Accordingly, the form of the judgment is improper; we reverse the judgment of dismissal and remand the case to the trial court with direction to render judgment in favor of the defendants.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3226

AC40359 - State v. Montanez (Murder; conspiracy to violate dependency-producing drug laws; carrying pistol without permit; criminal possession of firearm; violation of probation; "The defendant, Elizardo Montanez, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), conspiracy to violate the dependency-producing drug laws in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 21a-277 (a), and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a), and, following a court trial, of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1). The defendant also appeals from the judgment revoking his probation after the trial court found him to be in violation of his probation in violation of General Statutes § 53a-32. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) he was denied his right to due process and trial by a fair and impartial jury when the court denied his request for a mistrial after a bullet hole was discovered in the jury room during deliberations, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in concluding that drive test survey data is admissible under the test for admissibility of scientific evidence set forth in State v. Porter, 241 Conn. 57, 698 A.2d 739 (1997), cert. denied, 523 U.S. 1058, 118 S. Ct. 1384, 140 L. Ed. 2d 645 (1998). We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3228

AC40312 - Langston v. Commissioner of Correction- Dismissal of petition for a writ of habeas corpus as untimely under General Statutes § 52-470 (e). (“The petitioner argues that he established good cause for the delayed filing of his untimely petition, and the habeas court’s judgment of dismissal was improper. We are not convinced and, thus, affirm the judgment of the habeas court… on appeal, he argues that the habeas court erred in concluding that he failed to show good cause for the delay. Specifically, the petitioner contends that (1) this untimely petition does not violate the spirit or purpose of § 52-470 because it concerns issues that have been litigated consistently since 1999, and (2) in withdrawing his prior petition, he was following the advice of his former attorney and did not understand the consequences of this decision. We are not persuaded.”)


Connecticut Law Journal - October 16, 2018

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3223

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 16, for October 16, 2018 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 330: Connecticut Reports (Pages 342 - 372)
  • Volume 330: Orders (Pages 919 - 923)
  • Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 185: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 388 - 512)
  • Volume 185: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3216

AC40603 - Walenski v. Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission (Administrative appeal; subject matter jurisdiction; spousal retirement benefits pursuant to State Employees Retirement Act (§ 5-152 et seq.); "The sole issue in this appeal is whether the trial court properly dismissed the administrative appeal filed by the plaintiff, Carol Walenski, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to her failure to obtain a final decision from, or to otherwise exhaust her administrative remedies with, the named defendant, the Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission (commission). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court, Huddleston, J., improperly dismissed her appeal because (1) the commission and a prior judge of the Superior Court concluded that the court had subject matter jurisdiction, and (2) she appealed from a final decision by an administrative agency pursuant to General Statutes § 4-166 (5) (A) and (C). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3215

SC20012 - State v. Newton (Illegal practices in campaign financing; "This appeal requires us to determine the appropriate mens rea for the crime of illegal practices in campaign financing. The defendant, Ernest Newton II, appeals from the judgment of conviction, following a jury trial, of three counts of illegal practices in campaign financing in violation of General Statutes §§ 9-622 (7) and 53a-8. The defendant claims that the trial court improperly failed to instruct the jury that, in order to find him guilty of an illegal campaign financing practice in violation of § 9-622 (7), it must find that he acted with specific intent to violate that statute. The state responds that the defendant waived his instructional challenge and, in the alternative, that the trial court properly instructed the jury that the state was required to prove only that the defendant acted with general intent. We conclude that the trial court improperly instructed the jury as to the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal campaign financing practices. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed.")

AC41116 - State v. Mendez (Felony murder; robbery in first degree; reviewability of claim that trial court improperly granted appellate counsel's motion for leave to withdraw appearance filed pursuant to applicable rule of practice (§ 62-9 [d]); "In this direct criminal appeal, the self-represented defendant, Kezlyn Mendez, claims that the trial court violated his right to due process by improperly granting his court-appointed appellate counsel's motion for leave to withdraw her appearance in accordance with Practice Book § 62-9 (d). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3221

AC40188 - Martinez v. Premier Maintenance, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Luis Martinez, appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Premier Maintenance, Inc., on all three counts of the plaintiff's second revised complaint alleging religious discrimination in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) utilized the pretext/McDonnell Douglas-Burdine model; Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 252–56, 101 S. Ct. 1089, 67 L. Ed. 2d 207 (1981); McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973); rather than the mixed-motive/Price Waterhouse model of analysis; Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 246, 109 S. Ct. 1775, 104 L. Ed. 2d 268 (1989); when adjudicating the motion for summary judgment, (2) concluded that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether he had demonstrated a prima facie case of employment discrimination, and (3) concluded that there was no genuine issue of material fact that he was not engaged in a protected activity under the act. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3218

AC40582 - Muckle v. Pressley (Negligence; "The plaintiff, David Muckle, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his claim for prejudgment interest against the defendants, Ronald Pressley and the city of New Haven. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that General Statutes § 37-3b permits only postjudgment interest in negligence actions. We disagree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3220

AC39040 - Seaside National Bank & Trust v. Lussier ("The defendant, Gerald Lussier, also known as Gerald J. Lussier, appeals from the judgment of strict foreclosure rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Seaside National Bank & Trust. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to liability, (2) violated his constitutional right to procedural due process by denying him the opportunity to depose the plaintiff's affiant upon whose testimony the court relied in rendering judgment, and (3) abused its discretion in denying his request for a continuance pursuant to Practice Book § 17-47 and in granting the plaintiff's motion for a protective order. 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=3217

AC39407 - Britton v. Commissioner of Correction ("On appeal, the petitioner claims that the second habeas court, Fuger, J., (1) abused its discretion by denying his petition for certification to appeal, and (2) improperly concluded that he was not denied the constitutional right to due process because the jury was not instructed pursuant to State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509, 949 A.2d 1092 (2008), to the effective assistance of trial counsel and to the effective assistance of first habeas counsel. Although we agree that the second habeas court abused its discretion by denying the petitioner certification to appeal, we disagree that the court improperly denied his second petition for a writ of habeas corpus and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the second habeas court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - October 9, 2018

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3212

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 15, for October 9, 2018 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 330: Connecticut Reports (Pages 316 - 342)
  • Volume 330: Orders (Pages 916 - 919)
  • Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 185: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 283 - 387)
  • Volume 185: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 903 - 905)
  • Volume 185: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3211

SC19970 - Suntech of Connecticut, Inc. v. Lawrence Brunoli, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Suntech of Connecticut, Inc., a Connecticut corporation that fabricates and installs glass and curtain walls, brought an action against the named defendant Lawrence Brunoli, Inc., a general contractor, and the defendant Safeco Insurance Company of America, a bonding company, alleging, inter alia, breach of its subcontract to provide labor and materials in connection with the construction of a technology center at Naugatuck Valley Community College, which is owned by the state. See Suntech of Connecticut, Inc. v. Lawrence Brunoli, Inc., 173 Conn. App. 321, 324–25, 164 A.3d 36 (2017). The plaintiff now appeals, upon our grant of its petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the defendants. Id., 324. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the trial court had not committed harmful error when it (1) precluded the plaintiff's fact witness, Rick Cianfaglione, an independent consultant who had been hired by the state to evaluate the scheduling and duration of the construction project, from testifying as to his observations and perceptions about the project site, and (2) refused to permit the plaintiff's counsel to make an offer of proof, including by disregarding relevant portions of Cianfaglione's deposition transcript.

After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal in this case should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3206

AC40472 - State v. Meadows (Criminal violation of standing criminal protective order; threatening in second degree; claim that conviction of two counts of criminal violation of standing criminal protective order violated defendant's right to be free from double jeopardy; "The defendant, Cody Meadows, was convicted after a jury trial of two counts of criminal violation of a standing criminal protective order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223a, one count of threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 53a-62 (a) (2) and one count of threatening in the second degree in violation of § 53a-62 (a) (3). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the two convictions for violation of the standing criminal protective order violated his protection against double jeopardy, (2) the trial court erroneously instructed the jury as to the second count of violation of a standing criminal protective order, and (3) his conviction under § 53a-62 (a) (3) violated his right to freedom of speech under the first amendment to the United States constitution. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39899 - State v. Correa (Conspiracy to possess controlled substance with intent to sell; conspiracy to possess controlled substance with intent to sell by person who is not drug-dependent; conspiracy to operate drug factory; "Following a conditional plea of nolo contendere, entered pursuant to General Statutes § 54-94a, the defendant, Ricardo Correa, appeals from the judgment of conviction of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to sell in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 21a-277 (b), conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to sell by a person who is not drug-dependent in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 21a-278 (a), and conspiracy to operate a drug factory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 21a-277 (c). The defendant entered his conditional plea following the court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized from a motel room he was renting. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because: (1) a warrantless dog sniff outside the door of his motel room violated his state constitutional rights, and (2) a warrantless visual search of his motel room violated his state and federal constitutional rights. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. ")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3209

AC39747 - Robles v. West Avenue Dental, P.C. ("The defendants West Avenue Dental, P.C., and Hrishikesh Gogate appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, awarding damages to the plaintiff Andrea Robles, their former employee, for injuries she suffered due to the defendants' negligent supervision of one of her male coworkers, who sexually harassed her at work over an extended period of time. The defendants challenge the judgment on the ground that the verdict on which it was rendered was returned after the court erroneously determined that it could not accept the jury’s original plaintiff’s verdict awarding Robles $0 in damages because that verdict was inherently inconsistent, and, thus, improperly required the jury to conduct further deliberations to resolve the alleged inconsistency instead of accepting the original verdict and rendering judgment on it. The defendants claim on appeal that the court erred in concluding that the jury’s original verdict was inherently inconsistent, and, thus, in refusing to accept and render judgment on that verdict. They argue that an award of $0 in damages was reasonable in this case because the damages claimed by Robles were largely speculative and unproved, and any damages she did prove could have been reduced by the jury under the court's instructions on their special defense of failure to mitigate damages. Finally, the defendants, claiming that the court erred in instructing the jury that it must award Robles at least some damages if it found the defendants liable for negligent supervision, ask this court to restore the original plaintiff's verdict awarding Robles $0 in damages. Robles, in opposition to the defendants' claim, argues principally that the defendants are not entitled to prevail on that claim because they failed to assert it at trial, and, thus, they failed to preserve it for appellate review. In light of the following facts and procedural history, we agree with Robles that the defendants' present claim was not preserved at trial and, thus, that it cannot be reviewed on appeal.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3208

AC40004 - Guddo v. Guddo ("The self-represented plaintiff, Anthony V. Guddo, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying the postdissolution motion for contempt that he brought against the defendant, Kimberli M. Guddo. The plaintiff claims that because of a conflict of interest related to the defendant's counsel, the hearing on the motion for contempt was unfair. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3207

AC40281 - Bloomfield Health Care Center of Connecticut, LLC v. Doyon (Negligence; "In Jewish Home for the Elderly of Fairfield County, Inc., v. Cantore, 257 Conn. 531, 532, 543–44, 778 A.2d 93 (2001) (Jewish Home), our Supreme Court recognized that a nursing home that has been harmed by the negligence of a conservator is entitled to recover, through an action on a probate bond, the losses it suffered as a result of the conservator's failure to timely file an application for Medicaid benefits on behalf of his or her ward. This appeal asks us to determine whether to recognize a similar right of recovery in a case where no probate bond was obtained.

"This appeal arises out of an action by the plaintiff, Bloomfield Health Care Center of Connecticut, LLC, in which it alleged that the defendant, Jason Doyon, breached a duty to use reasonable care in managing the estate of his ward, Samuel Johnson. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that the defendant was negligent by failing to apply for and to obtain on a timely basis Medicaid benefits that were necessary to pay the plaintiff for the cost of Johnson's care at the plaintiff's nursing home. The plaintiff now appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that the defendant did not owe it a duty of care and, thus, was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - October 2, 2018

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3204

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 14, for October 2, 2018 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 330: Connecticut Reports (Pages 280 - 316)
  • Volume 330: Orders (Pages 908 - 916)
  • Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 185: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 119 - 283)
  • Volume 185: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 902 - 902)
  • Volume 185: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3201

SC20045 - Sun Val, LLC v. Commissioner of Transportation (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Sun Val, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in its favor against the defendant, the Commissioner of Transportation. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court improperly (1) applied the wrong environmental regulations to determine whether materials left on the plaintiff's property were contaminated and, as a result, failed to award appropriate damages for removal of those contaminated materials, (2) determined that the plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages, and (3) rejected the plaintiff's claim for lost profits. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")