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Connecticut Appellate Court on Tour:
Judges to hear cases at Waterbury's Wilby High School

The Connecticut Appellate Court will travel to Wilby High School in Waterbury on Wednesday, November 28, 2007, to hear arguments in two cases. The arguments will take place in the main auditorium at Wilby, located at 568 Bucks Hill Road, Waterbury.

The court’s appearance at Wilby is part of an ongoing educational initiative of the Connecticut Judicial Branch to introduce students, educators, and the general public to the role and responsibilities of the court system. This program began over 20 years ago and this visit marks the fifth time that the judges have held arguments at a high school. Prior to the oral arguments, members of the Waterbury Bar Association will meet with the students to discuss the court system and provide an overview of the cases to be argued.

Appellate Court Chief Judge Joseph P. Flynn said: “Judge William Lavery, Judge Thomas West, and I are very pleased to sit at Wilby because Waterbury is one of our most important judicial centers, and I believe this will give the students greater understanding of our legal process."

Waterbury Superintendent of Schools David L. Snead, Ph.D. commented: “This is a wonderful chance for students here in Waterbury to see what really goes on in a courtroom. We have a number of talented, highly gifted students who might be considering a career in law, and this will give them an opportunity to see what it takes to succeed on a higher level. They may have watched courtroom dramas on television, but this will show them the reality of an appellate court proceeding. This is the type of opportunity that could truly motivate our students to strive for a career in the law.”

Wilby Principal Robyn Apicella said, “Our students will get a better understanding of what it might be like to be a lawyer or a judge, and the importance of the appellate process. We especially welcome the opportunity to share this with students in other Waterbury high schools. Even though we have to limit the number of students who will be allowed to participate, we felt it was important to provide this experience for students throughout Waterbury.”

Waterbury attorney Maurice Mosley requested that the Appellate Court hold hearings at a Waterbury public school. His reasoning for the request: “Many students in Waterbury want to be lawyers. Seeing lawyers and judges at an Appellate Court session in their school helps the students to connect school with careers.”

The first case, Maureen Murphy v. Lord Thompson Manor, Inc., will be heard at 9:30 a.m., and involves a tort issue: Whether the defendant’s conduct was sufficiently unreasonable or egregious as to support a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress and whether the damages awarded were excessive. Arguments will last for approximately 40 minutes, to be followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer period, in which the judges do not participate.

The second case, Theresa Sokaitis v. Rose Bakaysa, will be heard at 10:30 a.m., and involves wagering contracts: Whether an agreement to share winnings from lottery and casino games is unenforceable by law. A question-and-answer period will follow the arguments. Again, the judges will not participate in the question-and-answer period.

News media organizations may record, broadcast, televise, and photograph the oral arguments in compliance with the rules governing cameras in the Appellate Court. In addition, news media organizations may photograph the question-and-answer periods. The Court requests that news media planning on recording, broadcasting, televising or photographing the oral arguments, or photographing the question-and-answer periods, please contact Jim Senich (860-757-2270) by Monday, November 26th.

The following items may not be brought into the auditorium: Cameras, video equipment (unless by a media representative as the pool), bladed or pointed items, weapons, and food and beverages. To help the screening process and movement in and out of the auditorium, it is recommended that guests not bring briefcases, backpacks, pocketbooks, or bags.


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