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Recent Opinions

Connecticut Law Journal - January 15, 2019

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3323

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 29, for January 15, 2019 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 330: Connecticut Reports (Pages 575 - 613)
  • Volume 330: Orders (Pages 958 - 959)
  • Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 187: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 106 - 282)
  • Volume 187: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases


Legal Malpractice Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3318

AC40432 - Dubinsky v. Reich ("The plaintiff, David Dubinsky, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants, Veronica Reich and Bai, Pollack, Blueweiss & Mulcahey, P.C. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that the defendants were entitled to absolute immunity. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Advance Release Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3319

AC40094 - Norris v. Trumbull (Negligence; "The sole issue raised in this appeal is whether a regional educational service center established, pursuant to General Statutes § 10-66a et seq., by four or more municipal boards of education is entitled to invoke sovereign immunity in a negligence action brought by a special needs student injured while attending a school operated and managed by the regional educational service center. The defendant Cooperative Educational Services appeals from the trial court's denial of its motion to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds that portion of the operative complaint filed against it by the plaintiffs, Ashley Norris, a minor child acting through her mother and next friend, Bonita Wiggins, and Bonita Wiggins individually. The defendant claims that the court improperly determined that the defendant's role in supervising students committed to its care and custody is a municipal function that is not shielded by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. We disagree and conclude that the court properly denied the defendant's motion to dismiss. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40263 - Villages, LLC v. Longhi (Fraud; "The plaintiff, Villages, LLC, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Lori Longhi, who at all relevant times was a member of the Enfield Planning and Zoning Commission (commission). The plaintiff claims on appeal that the court improperly concluded that (1) the defendant was not collaterally estopped from disputing liability, and (2) the defendant was entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff's claims for fraudulent misrepresentation and intentional interference with a business expectancy. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3316

AC40847 - State v. Joseph B. (Sexual assault in first degree; sexual assault in third degree; risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Joseph B., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of one count of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2), one count of sexual assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-72a (a) (2), two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1), and two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion when it (1) denied his motion for a bill of particulars, (2) admitted evidence that the victim was diagnosed with trichomonas vaginalis, and (3) admitted evidence of text messages that were disclosed on the first day of trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40831 - State v. Hanisko (Possession of child pornography in second degree; "The defendant, Stephen Hanisko, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a court trial, of possession of child pornography in the second degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 53a-196e. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a search and seizure warrant (search warrant) because the information contained in the search warrant affidavit was stale at the time that the search warrant was issued, and (2) the trial court's "evidentiary rulings" were incorrect because the court failed to recognize the oppressive delay between the execution of the search warrant and the issuance of the warrant for his arrest, resulting in a violation of his right to due process. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40429 - State v. Bethea (Falsely reporting incident in second degree; "The self-represented defendant, Jemal E. Bethea, appeals from the judgment of conviction that was rendered against him, upon the verdict of a jury, on the charge of falsely reporting an incident in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-180c (a) (1). The defendant was tried under an amended information dated March 2, 2017, in which the state alleged, inter alia, that on or about April 8, 2014, in Wallingford, while knowing the information he reported was false or baseless, he reported to law enforcement an incident that did not in fact occur involving the alleged theft of his motor vehicle, and then, with the intent to injure, defraud or deceive Omni Insurance Group, Inc. (Omni), presented a statement of material fact in support of an insurance claim knowing that the statement contained false or misleading information. Although the defendant's appellate brief is not a model of clarity, we construe his claims on appeal to be (1) that the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his conviction of falsely reporting an incident, (2) that the verdicts in his case, finding him guilty of falsely reporting an incident but not guilty of insurance fraud, were legally inconsistent, (3) that neither the warrant to search and seize the cell phone records of the defendant's girlfriend, who was allegedly driving the defendant's vehicle at the time it was reportedly stolen, nor the warrant for the defendant's arrest in this case was supported by probable cause, (4) that the trial court erred in admitting a first time in-court identification of his girlfriend by an eyewitness, Jacqueline Pecora, (5) that the trial court erred in admitting impermissible hearsay testimony by Pecora that was more prejudicial than probative, (6) that the trial court erred in admitting the defendant's out-of-court statements to the police that were impermissible hearsay, and (7) that the prosecutor committed a Brady violation by withholding the exculpatory testimony of an eyewitness, Allen Murchie. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Land Use Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3317

AC39999 - Truskauskas v. Zoning Board of Appeals ("The plaintiff, Don Truskauskas, appeals from the judgments of the trial court finding him in contempt for violating the terms of a stipulated judgment involving himself, the defendant, the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Harwinton (board), and the intervenors, Ronald Genovese and Jessica Genovese, who own property abutting that of the plaintiff. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly interpreted the March 30, 2016 stipulated judgment and found that he wilfully had violated the stipulated judgment. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.)


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3320

AC39910 - Hoffkins v. Hart-D'Amato ("In this action for the collection of unpaid legal fees, the named defendant, Dianne Hart-D'Amato, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the plaintiff, Kevin L. Hoffkins. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion when it (1) denied her motion for disqualification of the trial judge, and (2) precluded relevant evidence offered by the defendant. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3321

SC19889- Marquez v. Commissioner of Correction ("In this certified appeal, we are asked to consider whether the state violated the due process rights of the petitioner… On appeal to this court, the petitioner asks us to conclude, contrary to the determination of the habeas court and the Appellate Court; Marquez v. Commissioner of Correction, 170 Conn. App. 231, 240, 154 A.3d 73 (2017); that the state had an agreement with Soler that it had not disclosed to the petitioner in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963); see also Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 153, 92 S. Ct. 763, 31 L. Ed. 2d 104 (1972); Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264, 269, 79 S. Ct. 1173, 3 L. Ed. 2d 1217 (1959); and in contravention of the fourteenth amendment to the federal constitution. U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1. The petitioner also asks us to conclude that the nondisclosure of this agreement was ‘material,’ warranting the relief he sought from the habeas court… Because we conclude that, in the present case, the testimony in question was immaterial under the third prong of Brady and, therefore, that there was no violation of the petitioner’s due process rights, we need not comment further on the state’s disclosure of any pretrial discussions with Soler. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court on the alternative basis of immateriality.")

AC37998 - Ham v. Commissioner of Correction ("The petitioner claims that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal with respect to his claims that (1) the prosecutor at his criminal trial violated his right to due process by failing to disclose material exculpatory evidence and (2) counsel in a prior habeas action deprived him of his right to the effective assistance of counsel by failing to pursue a claim of ineffective assistance on the part of his criminal trial counsel. Because we conclude that the court properly exercised its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal, we dismiss the appeal.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 8, 2019

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3314

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 28, for January 8, 2019 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 330: Connecticut Reports (Pages 520 - 575)
  • Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 186: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 814 - 873)
  • Volume 186: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Volume 187: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 1 - 105)
  • Volume 187: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3309

AC40142 - Wood v. Rutherford (Battery; "This case concerns the conduct of a physician who discovered a complication during a postoperative examination. The plaintiff, Lauren Wood, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of her August 25, 2015 amended complaint, which alleged one count of battery and one count of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the defendant, Thomas J. Rutherford, M.D. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that those counts sounded in medical malpractice and, thus, required compliance with General Statutes § 52-190a. The plaintiff also challenges the propriety of the summary judgment rendered by the court on her February 8, 2016 revised complaint, which alleged that the defendant failed to obtain her informed consent before embarking on a course of treatment for a complication discovered during a postoperative examination. We agree with the plaintiff that the court improperly dismissed the battery and negligent infliction of emotional distress counts of her August 25, 2015 amended complaint, as those counts were predicated on an alleged lack of informed consent. We further conclude that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a substantial change in circumstances occurred during the course of medical treatment that necessitated a further informed consent discussion between the parties, rendering summary judgment inappropriate. We, therefore, reverse 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=3310

AC40708 - Designs for Health, Inc. v. Miller ("The plaintiff, Designs for Health, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant, Mark Miller. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant because the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant had signed electronically an agreement in which the parties expressly agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of state and federal courts in Connecticut. We agree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3308

AC40907 - Karagozian v. USV Optical, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Ohan Karagozian, appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court subsequent to its granting of the motion to strike the complaint filed by the defendant, USV Optical, Inc. The substance of the plaintiff's claim on appeal is that the court improperly concluded that he had failed to state a claim for constructive discharge. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40197 - Hospital Media Network, LLC v. Henderson ("The self-represented defendant, James G. Henderson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, following a hearing in damages upon default as to liability, awarding the plaintiff, Hospital Media Network, LLC, monetary relief pursuant to the equitable theories of forfeiture and disgorgement in the amount of $454,579.76 on its claim of breach of fiduciary duty. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court's award was improper because the plaintiff failed to prove it suffered any damages. We conclude that the court abused its discretion in ordering a wholesale forfeiture of the defendant's salary and bonus and requiring the defendant to disgorge in full all profits received from third parties, such that the award, in the full amount requested by the plaintiff, was inequitable. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the court as to the award of damages against James Henderson and remand the case for a new hearing in damages. We otherwise affirm the court's judgment.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3306

AC40605 - State v. Patel (Felony murder; home invasion as accessory; burglary in first degree as accessory; robbery in first degree as accessory; conspiracy to commit burglary in first degree; hindering prosecution in second degree; "The defendant, Niraj Prabhakar Patel, appeals from the judgment of conviction of felony murder in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 53a-54c, home invasion as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-100aa (a) (1) and 53a-8 (a) and (b), home invasion as an accessory in violation of §§ 53a-100aa (a) (2) and 53a-8 (b), burglary in the first degree as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-101 (a) (1) and 53a-8 (a) and (b), robbery in the first degree as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-134 (a) (2) and 53a-8 (a) and (b), conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-101 (a) (1) and 53a-48, and hindering prosecution in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-166. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion for a continuance, (2) denying his motions for a mistrial, (3) admitting into evidence the jailhouse recording between a confidential informant and Michael Calabrese, one of the defendant's coconspirators, (4) preventing him from asking certain questions to potential jurors during voir dire, and (5) giving an improper limiting instruction to the jury regarding nonhearsay testimony. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40250 - State v. Stephenson (Burglary in third degree; attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence; attempt to commit arson in second degree; "The defendant, Joseph A. Stephenson, appeals from the judgment of conviction rendered against him after a jury trial in the Stamford Superior Court on charges of burglary in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-103, attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2) and (Rev. to 2013) 53a-155 (a) (1), and attempt to commit arson in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-112 (a) (1) (B). The defendant claims on appeal that (1) the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction on those charges, and thus that he is entitled to the reversal of his conviction and the entry of a judgment of acquittal on each such charge, and (2) the court improperly prevented him from presenting exculpatory testimony from his trial attorney as to a conversation between them two days before his alleged commission of the charged offenses that tended to contradict the state's claim that he had a special motive for committing those offenses. We agree with the defendant that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict him of any of the charged offenses, as the state charged and sought to prove them in this case, and, thus, we conclude that his conviction on those charges must be reversed and this case must be remanded with direction to render a judgment of acquittal thereon. In light of this conclusion, we need not address the defendant's second claim.")


Habeas Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3307

SC19856 - Johnson v. Commissioner of Correction (Certification from Appellate Court; claim of ineffective assistance of counsel " by failing (1) to adequately prepare and present an alibi defense, and (2) to present a third-party culpability defense. The Appellate Court agreed with the respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, that it was reasonable trial strategy not to present an alibi defense, that the petitioner’s claim of inadequate investigation of the alibi defense was unpreserved, and that the petitioner was not prejudiced by counsel’s failure to present a third-party culpability defense. Because we hold that it was not deficient performance for defense counsel not to present the alibi defense and that it was not deficient performance or prejudicial for defense counsel not to present the third-party culpability defense, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - January 1, 2019

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3303

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 27, for January 1, 2019 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 330: Orders (Pages 956 - 958)
  • Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 186: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 770 - 814)
  • Volume 186: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 906 - 907)
  • Volume 186: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3300

AC40581 - State v. Young (Operating motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs; evading responsibility in operation of motor vehicle; operating motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs as second offender; "The defendant, Mark Young, appeals from the judgment of conviction rendered after his guilty pleas to charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs in violation of General Statutes § 14-227a (a) and evading responsibility in the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of General Statutes § 14-224 (b) (3), and to previously having been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs in violation of § 14-227a (g). The defendant claims that: (1) the court abused its discretion by denying his motion to withdraw and vacate guilty pleas pursuant to Practice Book §§ 39-26 and 39-27 because there was no factual basis for his plea of guilty to § 14-227a (a) and (g) for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence as a second offender; and (2) the court imposed an illegal sentence upon him for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence as a second offender that exceeded the statutory maximum for that offense, and did so in an illegal manner because it relied on materially inaccurate information concerning his criminal record. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in denying the defendant's motion to withdraw, but conclude that the sentence imposed on him exceeds the statutory maximum for the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence as a second offender. Accordingly, we vacate the defendant's sentences on all charges and remand this case to the trial court for resentencing under the terms of the original plea agreement, in accordance with the law.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3299

AC40229 - Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Tarzia ("This is the third appeal in this foreclosure action to reach this court in the nearly ten years this matter has been litigated. The named defendant Joseph S. Tarzia appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to open and vacate the court's judgment of strict foreclosure. Although the self-represented defendant's appellate brief is not a model of clarity, we construe his claims to be that the court (1) erred by denying his motion to open and vacate based on new evidence of fraud (2) erred by concluding that the plaintiff possessed the note when it filed this foreclosure action and (3) violated his right to due process by failing to view his case in its entirety as mandated by the mosaic rule. We disagree.")


Connecticut Law Journal - December 25, 2018

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3301

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXX, No. 26, for December 25, 2018 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

Table of Contents
Volume 330: Orders (Pages 954 - 956)
Volume 330: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
Volume 186: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 743 - 770)
Volume 186: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 904 - 906)
Volume 186: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
Miscellaneous Notices
Supreme Court Pending Cases
Notices of Connecticut State Agencies
Notice Publishing Deadlines


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3295

AC40627 - Federal National Mortgage Assn. v. Buhl ("The present appeal in this summary process action stems from the foreclosure of real property located at 12 Casner Road in East Haddam. The self-represented defendants, Paul Buhl and Luce Buhl, appeal from the judgment of possession rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Federal National Mortgage Association. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court (1) improperly determined that they did not commence an action pursuant to General Statutes § 47-36aa (a), (2) improperly determined that the deed to the subject property was valid despite notarial defects, (3) abused its discretion by allowing the plaintiff's counsel to give unsworn testimony, and (4) abused its discretion by rendering a default judgment against Luce Buhl for failure to appear at trial. We disagree and 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=3297

AC41405 - Edward M. v. Commissioner of Correction ("This appeal arises out of the habeas court’s granting of the second petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by the petitioner, Edward M. The respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court, claiming that the court improperly (1) used the petitioner’s hospital records for a purpose other than for which they were admitted and (2) concluded that the petitioner’s prior habeas counsel was ineffective and caused prejudice to the petitioner by failing to allege the ineffective assistance of the petitioner’s criminal trial counsel, who failed to present evidence regarding the petitioner’s circumcised penis. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3294

AC41742 - In re Gabriella C.-G., et al: (Termination of parental rights; “She claims on appeal that the court erred in (1) violating her constitutional rights by holding her to ‘unlawful, vague, high standards of care, compared to all the other parties . . . associated with the care and keeping’ of the five children, (2) denying ‘the right to a comparison of the foster parents . . . and [the Department of Children and Families (the department)] provided level of care that she was held to,’ including not allowing an injury report from the Office of the Child Advocate as to Dallas, (3) finding that the department made ‘reasonable efforts’ to reunify her with any of her five children, (4) making the statement, ‘this family can’t and won’t benefit from reunification’… and (5) stating that ‘it’s in the best interest’… of the five minor children for her to lose her parental rights.…Having reviewed the findings of the court as set forth in its thoughtful and thorough decision, we conclude that under the applicable standards of review, they are sufficiently supported by the evidence and not clearly erroneous. The judgments are affirmed.”)