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Tort Law

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.")


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.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3289

AC40044 - Ravalese v. Lertora (Defamation; "The plaintiff, David Ravalese, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Joanne M. Lertora, on his complaint sounding in defamation. On appeal, the plaintiff sets forth two main claims: (1) the court improperly held that a report authored by the defendant was made for the purpose of litigation and, therefore, that the plaintiff's action for defamation was barred by the doctrine of absolute immunity; and (2) the court improperly held that the statute of limitations barred the action. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3279

AC40813 - Fiondella v. Meriden (Fraud; "The plaintiffs, Michael J. Fiondella, Jr., trustee of the Jo-An Carabetta 1983 Irrevocable Trust (trust), and The Meriden Homestead, LLC, appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing the counts of the complaint alleged against the defendants, Adele G. Eberhart, Harry S. Eberhart, and Vincent T. McManus, Jr. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly (1) applied the litigation privilege in favor of the defendants to conclude that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction and (2) construed the fraud and civil conspiracy allegations against the defendants. We agree that the court improperly applied the litigation privilege to determine that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40752 - Jolen, Inc. v. Brodie & Stone, PLC (Breach of fiduciary duty; "The plaintiff, Jolen, Inc., appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Brodie & Stone, PLC, and Brodie & Stone International, PLC, on the plaintiff's claim of breach of fiduciary duty. The plaintiff claims on appeal that, in view of the court's unchallenged determination that an agency relationship existed between the parties, its subsequent failure to conclude that such relationship was per se fiduciary in nature was incorrect as a matter of law. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40610 - Perez v. Metropolitan District Commisssion (Wrongful death; "This case arises from the untimely death of Andres Burgos, who drowned while swimming in Lake McDonough, a recreational area that is owned and operated by the defendant, the Metropolitan District Commission. The plaintiff, Vivian Perez, administratrix of the estate of Andres Burgos, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant on the basis of governmental immunity. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in rendering summary judgment because there is a genuine issue of material fact with respect to (1) whether Burgos' death was caused by the defendant's breach of one or more of its ministerial duties, and (2) whether Burgos was an identifiable person subject to imminent harm. We are not persuaded and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Business Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3265

AC39973 - DE Auto Transport, Inc. v. Eurolite, LLC (Wrongful repossession, statutory theft; "The plaintiff, DE Auto Transport, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the defendants, Eurolite, LLC (Eurolite), and Leopold Zayaczkowski. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in its damages analysis. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3258

SC19867 - Graham v. Commissioner of Transportation ("In this appeal, we consider whether the waiver of sovereign immunity under General Statutes § 13a-144, the state's highway defect statute, extends to a claim that the state police failed to close a bridge before a crew from the Department of Transportation (department) could arrive to address an icy surface on that bridge. The defendant, the Commissioner of Transportation (commissioner), appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the commissioner on the ground that the personal injury action brought by the plaintiff, Barry Graham, was barred by sovereign immunity. Graham v. Commissioner of Transportation, 168 Conn. App. 570, 611, 148 A.3d 1147 (2016). On appeal, the commissioner asks us to overrule this court's decision in Lamb v. Burns, 202 Conn. 158, 520 A.2d 190 (1987), to the extent that it expands the waiver of sovereign immunity under § 13a-144 to include actions of the state police. We decline to overrule Lamb, and conclude that the waiver of sovereign immunity under § 13a-144 extends to the actions of state employees other than those employed by the commissioner, but only to the extent that they are performing duties related to highway maintenance and the plaintiff proves that a relationship exists between the commissioner and the state employee such that the commissioner can be found to have breached his statutory duty to keep the highways, bridges, or sidewalks in repair. We further conclude that, in the present case, there is nothing in the record to indicate that the requisite relationship existed between the commissioner and the state police. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3238

AC40368 - Smith v. BL Cos. ("The plaintiff, Brandon Smith, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, BL Companies, Inc. (company), and James Fielding, on the ground of res judicata. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred as a matter of law by concluding that a prior judgment on a nuisance claim precluded the plaintiff from bringing a subsequent negligence claim that was predicated on the same nucleus of fact but not pleaded in the previous action. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40369 - Fisk v. BL Cos. ("The plaintiff, Gregg Fisk, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, BL Companies, Inc. (company), and James Fielding, on the ground of res judicata. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred as a matter of law by concluding that a prior judgment on a nuisance claim precluded the plaintiff from bringing a subsequent negligence claim that was predicated on the same nucleus of fact but not pleaded in the previous action. 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=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.")


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.")


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.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3189

SC19619, SC19749 - Angersola v. Radiologic Associates of Middletown, P.C. ("The plaintiffs in this wrongful death action, Susan Angersola and Kathleen Thurz, coexecutors of the estate of the decedent, Patricia Sienkiewicz, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, which granted the motions to dismiss filed by the defendants, Radiologic Associates of Middletown, P.C. (Radiologic Associates), Robert Wolek, Middlesex Hospital, Shoreline Surgical Associates, P.C. (Shoreline), and Eileen Tobin, on the ground that the plaintiffs failed to commence their action within the five year repose period of General Statutes § 52-555, this state's wrongful death statute. The plaintiffs first claim that the trial court incorrectly concluded that compliance with that repose provision is a prerequisite to the court's jurisdiction over the action. They further claim that the trial court improperly resolved disputed jurisdictional facts without affording them an opportunity either to engage in limited discovery or to present evidence in connection with their contention that the repose period had been tolled by the continuing course of conduct doctrine or the continuing course of treatment doctrine. Although we reject the plaintiffs' jurisdictional claim, we agree with their second claim insofar as the continuing course of conduct doctrine is concerned. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3177

AC39472 - Farrell v. Johnson & Johnson (Intentional misrepresentation; "The plaintiffs, Mary Beth Farrell and Vincent Farrell, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered following a jury trial, in favor of the defendants Brian J. Hines, M.D. , and Urogynecology and Pelvic Surgery, LLC (Urogynecology). On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court (1) abused its discretion by allowing the defendants to refer during trial to prior defendants, the claims against whom had been withdrawn; (2) abused its discretion by excluding from evidence as hearsay two journal articles; (3) improperly directed a verdict in favor of the defendants on the plaintiffs' claim of innocent misrepresentation; and (4) improperly failed to instruct the jury on the concept of misrepresentation due to Hines' lack of sufficient knowledge. 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=3165

AC39965 - Bisson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Negligence; "In this premises liability action, the plaintiff, Rebecca Bisson, challenges the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in which the trial court determined that (1) the defendant met its burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact existed regarding constructive notice of the defect alleged and (2) that the plaintiff's own evidence did not establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3161

SC20008 - Smith v. Rudolph ("This appeal requires us to determine whether there is a right to a jury trial in an action brought pursuant to General Statutes § 52-556, which waives sovereign immunity for claims arising from a state employee's negligent operation of a state owned motor vehicle. The named plaintiff, Anthony Smith, commenced this action, pursuant to § 52-556, against the defendant Department of Transportation, seeking damages stemming from an accident that occurred when a bus owned and operated by the state collided with a vehicle that the plaintiff was driving. After the plaintiff claimed the action to the jury trial list, the defendant filed a motion to strike the case from that list on the ground that a jury trial is not authorized by § 52-556. The trial court granted the defendant's motion, and a trial to the court ensued, following which the court rendered judgment for the plaintiff, awarding him damages. The plaintiff appeals from that judgment, claiming that the trial court incorrectly determined that § 52-556 does not afford him the right to a jury trial. Relying on the established principle that a common-law negligence action carries with it the right to a jury trial, the plaintiff maintains that, even though § 52-556 does not expressly provide for a jury trial, that provision constitutes a waiver of sovereign immunity that permits such an action against the state, thereby entitling him to a trial by jury. The defendant contends that § 52-556 does not give rise to a common-law negligence claim but, rather, creates a new cause of action, unknown at common law, such that the plaintiff has no right to a jury trial. We agree with the defendant, and, accordingly, 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=3151

AC40258 - Vaccaro v. D'Angelo ("In this interpleader action, the plaintiff-stakeholder, Attorney Enrico Vaccaro, sought an order determining the rights of the defendant-claimant, Stephen Boileau, and the other defendant-claimant, William DeAngelo, Boileau's chiropractic physician, to a portion of the proceeds from a settlement resolving Boileau's personal injury action. Boileau cross appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, ordering that $5780 of the contested funds be disbursed to DeAngelo. On appeal, Boileau claims that the court improperly determined that DeAngelo is entitled to any portion of the settlement funds because: (1) DeAngelo failed to comply with the notice requirement of the provider services agreement between DeAngelo and the administrator of Boileau's health plan, and, therefore he may not bill Boileau for services rendered; and (2) the form that Boileau signed acknowledging his financial responsibility for services rendered by DeAngelo is illegal and unenforceable. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3146

AC39185 - Teodoro v. Bristol ("On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment (1) without considering the deposition transcript excerpts she had filed in opposition to the motion, and (2) without considering her surreply brief and attached exhibits. We agree with the plaintiff that the trial court erred in not considering the deposition excerpts she offered in opposition to the motion on the ground that they were not authenticated properly. We disagree, however, that the trial court abused its discretion in not considering the plaintiff’s surreply brief and attached exhibits. We therefore reverse the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, and remand this case for further consideration of the defendants’ motion in accordance with this opinion, and for such other proceedings as may thereafter be appropriate, according to law.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3141

AC39217 - Carson v. Allianz Life Ins. Co. of North America ("The plaintiff, Elizabeth Carson, Trustee, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly concluded that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether her action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that fraudulent concealment on the part of the defendant’s agent, David Faubert, and the continuing course of conduct doctrine tolled the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3130

AC39817 - Farmer-Lanctot v. Shand ("In this negligence action, the plaintiff, Ellen Farmer-Lanctot, appeals from the judgment rendered on a general verdict in favor of the defendant, Matthew Shand. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly denied the plaintiff's request for a jury charge on (1) the sudden emergency doctrine, (2) the standard of care for a pedestrian in a roadway, and (3) the defendant's duty to yield to pedestrians when making a right-hand turn.We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40315 - Palosz v. Greenwich ("In this wrongful death action, the defendant, Board of Education of the Town of Greenwich, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion to strike the first count of the operative complaint filed by the plaintiffs, Anna Izabela Palosz and Franciszek Palosz, coadministrators of the estate of Bartlomiej F. Palosz (decedent), which stems from the decedent's tragic suicide. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly concluded, as a matter of law, that it is not entitled to sovereign immunity from the plaintiffs' wrongful death claim, in which the plaintiffs allege, in part, that the defendant's employees failed to comply with the antibullying policy that the defendant developed and implemented pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 10-222d, as amended by Public Acts 2011, No. 11-232, § 1. 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=3118

AC40026 - Crismale v. Walston (Defamation; "In this action alleging slander and malicious prosecution, the plaintiff, Nicholas Crismale, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Christopher Andrew Walston. The plaintiff claims that the trial court erroneously concluded that the defendant’s statements were privileged and that there was no evidence that the defendant acted with malice. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2998

AC39731 - Plainville v. Almost Home Animal Rescue & Shelter, Inc. (Negligence per se; "The plaintiffs, the town of Plainville (town) and Donna Weinhofer, the town's animal control officer, appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant, Almost Home Animal Rescue and Shelter, Inc., following the court's granting of the defendant's motion to strike both counts of the plaintiffs' two count complaint. Count one of the complaint sounded in negligence per se and alleged that the defendant, which operates an animal rescue facility, had failed to care for animals in its custody in violation of General Statutes § 53-247 (a), and that this violation caused the plaintiffs to suffer damages, namely, costs that the town incurred for medical care, shelter, food, and water for the affected animals. Count two sounded in unjust enrichment and was premised on the defendant's failure to reimburse the town for its expenditures in caring for the seized animals.

"On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly (1) applied an incorrect legal standard in deciding the motion to strike; (2) struck count one of the complaint on the bases that § 53-247 did not establish a duty or standard of care for purposes of maintaining a negligence per se action and that the plaintiffs are not among the class of persons protected by § 53-247; and (3) struck count two of the complaint on the basis that General Statutes § 22-329a (h) provides the exclusive remedy for the damages alleged by the plaintiffs, thus precluding an action for unjust enrichment, and did so without considering and addressing the plaintiffs' argument that the defendant had stipulated in a prior action that the plaintiffs were entitled to seek damages without regard to § 22-329a. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the court.")


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