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Employment Law

Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3001

SC19817 - MacDermid, Inc. v. Leonetti ("The defendant, Stephen J. Leonetti, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the plaintiff, MacDermid, Inc., on its claim of unjust enrichment. On appeal, the defendant contends the following: (1) the plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim is barred by collateral estoppel on the basis of the proceedings underlying our decision in Leonetti v. MacDermid, Inc., 310 Conn. 195, 76 A.3d 168 (2013); (2) the plaintiff’s recovery is precluded by General Statutes §§ 31-290 and 31-296 (a), the terms of a termination agreement (agreement) between the parties, and public policy; (3) the trial court’s jury instructions were improper; and (4) the trial court improperly excluded certain evidence. The plaintiff disagrees and claims that many of the defendant’s arguments are unpreserved, inadequately briefed, or both. We agree with the plaintiff. Accordingly, 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=2959

AC38678 - McMahon v. Middletown ("The plaintiff, Patrick T. McMahon, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant city of Middletown (city). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court contravened General Statutes § 52-178 by denying his counsel’s requests to ask leading questions during the direct examination of the city’s mayor, former mayor, and former acting deputy police chief. We decline to review this unpreserved claim and, accordingly, 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=2939

AC39221 - Sempey v. Stamford Hospital ("The plaintiff, Merinda J. Sempey, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing her case against the defendant, Stamford Hospital. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred by (1) granting the defendant’s motion to dismiss count one of the amended substitute complaint, and (2) dismissing the matter in its entirety when the defendant had moved to dismiss only count one. Although we disagree that the court erred in granting the motion to dismiss count one of the amended substitute complaint, we agree that the court erred in dismissing counts two and three. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court as to counts two and three of the amended substitute complaint and remand the case for further proceedings; we affirm the judgment in all other respects.")


Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=868

SC19825, SC19826, SC19827 - Kirby of Norwich v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act ("The issue that we must resolve in these appeals is whether certain individuals who have engaged in door-to-door sales of vacuums provided by the plaintiff, Kirby of Norwich, also known as GP Industries of Norwich, Inc., should be classified as independent contractors or, instead, as employees of the plaintiff for purposes of the Unemployment Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-222 et seq. The named defendant, the Unemployment Compensation Act Administrator (administrator), found that there was an employer-employee relationship between the plaintiff and those individuals, thereby obligating the plaintiff to contribute to the state's unemployment compensation fund (fund), because the plaintiff failed to meet its burden of satisfying the requirements of all three prongs of the ABC test, codified at General Statutes § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii) (I), (II) and (III), with parts A, B and C of the test corresponding to clauses (I), (II) and (III), respectively, of that statutory provision. After the administrator's decisions were sustained by the Employment Security Appeals Division (appeals division) and the defendant Employment Security Board of Review (board), the plaintiff appealed to the trial court, which agreed with the administrator in three separate cases that such individuals are the plaintiff's employees on the ground that the plaintiff failed to establish that the individuals are "customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed" for the plaintiff, within the meaning of part C of the ABC test. See General Statutes § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii) (III). The plaintiff now appeals from the judgments of the trial court, claiming that the court in each case interpreted § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii) (III) too narrowly and, as a result, incorrectly concluded that the individuals engaged in door-to-door sales of the plaintiff's product were employees of the plaintiff rather than independent contractors. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=859

AC38836 - Fagan v. Stamford ("The self-represented plaintiff, Paul Fagan, a former police officer for the defendant city of Stamford (city), appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his appeal from the decision of the defendant Policemen’s Pension Trust Fund Board of the city (board) awarding him a disability pension in the amount of 50 percent of his annual compensation. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the board improperly denied his request for an enhanced disability pension pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement (agreement) between the city and the Stamford Police Association (association). We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=812

AC39160 - Stack v. Hartford Distributors, Inc. ("The defendant, Hartford Distributors, Inc. (Hartford Distributors), appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the application, filed by the plaintiff, Gerard Stack, for an order to proceed with arbitration pursuant to the parties’ employment agreement. On appeal, Hartford Distributors claims that the court erred in ordering the parties to proceed with arbitration because the parties’ dispute did not arise out of the parties’ employment agreement. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=803

AC39232 - Heyward v. Judicial Dept. ("In this action arising out of alleged workplace discrimination, the plaintiff Theresa D. S. Heyward appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant Judicial Department of the state of Connecticut. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in granting the defendant’s motion to strike her hostile work environment and racial discrimination claims. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=791

AC39132 - Horvath v. Hartford ("The plaintiff, John K. Horvath, appeals from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, the city of Hartford. On appeal, the plaintiff asserts that the trial court’s judgment was in error because disputed issues of material fact exist concerning whether he was retaliated against, and later constructively discharged, by the defendant in violation of General Statutes § 31-51m as a result of his whistleblowing activities while in the defendant’s employ. In response, the defendant claims that summary judgment was appropriate because, in opposition to its motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff offered no evidence that the defendant constructively discharged him by intentionally creating an intolerable work environment compelling him to resign. 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=779

AC39102, AC39107 - O'Brien v. New Haven ("These consolidated appeals concern the indemnification provisions of General Statutes § 7-101a. The defendant, the city of New Haven, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, William O’Brien, its former tax assessor, awarding him the attorney’s fees and costs that he incurred in defending himself in a prior action brought by a third party. In its appeal, the defendant claims that the plaintiff’s action for indemnification was barred because he failed to comply with the notice requirement and time limitations of § 7-101a (d). In his appeal, the plaintiff challenges the trial court’s denial of his request for the attorney’s fees and costs that he incurred in bringing the present action, claiming that § 7-101a authorizes such an award. 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=737

AC39067 - Samakaab v. Dept. of Social Services ("In this employment discrimination action, the plaintiff, Hasan Samakaab, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, the Department of Social Services. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that insufficient facts were presented to support a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation. 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=649

AC38851 - Thomson v. Dept. of Social Services ("The plaintiff, Kim Thomson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant, the Department of Social Services. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that insufficient facts were presented to support a prima facie case for disability discrimination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Supreme Court Advance Release Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=643

SC19401- Maio v. New Haven ("Under General Statutes § 53-39a, a police officer acquitted of crimes 'allegedly committed by such officer in the course of his duty' is entitled to indemnification from 'his employing governmental unit for economic loss sustained by him as a result of such prosecution . . . .' The plaintiff, Anthony J. Maio, a police officer with the New Haven Police Department (department), sought such reimbursement from the defendant, the city of New Haven, after he was acquitted of charges of sexual assault in the fourth degree and unlawful restraint for conduct involving two young women that allegedly occurred while he was working an 'extra duty' shift at a local nightclub. When the defendant declined to reimburse the plaintiff in accordance with § 53-39a, the plaintiff brought this action for indemnification. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed, claiming that the trial court improperly (1) instructed the jury on the meaning of the phrase 'in the course of [the officer's] duty' as that language is used in § 53-39a, and (2) precluded the defendant's use of the testimony of two key state's witnesses at the plaintiff's criminal trial, namely, A and J, the complainants and alleged victims of the plaintiff's claimed misconduct (complainants). Although we disagree with the defendant's claim of instructional impropriety, we agree that the trial court improperly prohibited the defendant from using the complainants' prior testimony and, further, that that evidentiary error was not harmless. We conclude, therefore, that the defendant is entitled to a new trial.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=622

SC19829 - Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc. ("Connecticut law requires employers to pay certain employees one and one-half times their 'regular rate' of pay for any overtime hours they work. General Statutes § 31-76c. Calculating overtime pay for employees paid a fixed hourly wage is straightforward—their 'regular rate' is their hourly wage, so they must be paid one and one-half times their hourly wage for each overtime hour worked. General Statutes § 31-76c. But for employees paid in whole or in part by commission, their average hourly rate will tend to fluctuate, leaving them without a readily apparent regular rate to use for calculating overtime pay. In the present case, we are asked to consider how employers must determine the regular rate for retail employees whose pay fluctuates each week because they receive commissions.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=538

SC19691 - Spiotti v. Wolcott ("The primary issue that we must resolve in this appeal is whether this court should overrule its decision in Genovese v. Gallo Wine Merchants, Inc., 226 Conn. 475, 486, 628 A.2d 946 (1993), holding that, under General Statutes § 31-51bb, a factual determination made in a final and binding arbitration conducted pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement does not have preclusive effect in a subsequent action claiming a violation of the state or federal constitution or a state statute. The plaintiff, Doreen Spiotti, was a member of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 332 (union), and was employed as a police officer in the Wolcott Police Department (department). After the plaintiff filed a complaint with an ombudsman for the department alleging that the department had engaged in retaliatory conduct against her, the department conducted an investigation and concluded that certain statements that the plaintiff had made in her complaint were false. Thereafter, Neil O’Leary, the chief of the department, recommended to the town council of the named defendant, the town of Wolcott, that the plaintiff’s employment be terminated. The defendant terminated the plaintiff, who then filed a grievance pursuant to the procedures set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between the defendant and the union. In accordance with those procedures, the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration (board of mediation) conducted hearings on the issue of whether the plaintiff’s employment had been terminated for just cause, and it ultimately concluded that there was just cause on the basis of its determination that the plaintiff had made false statements in her complaint to the ombudsman and during the department’s investigation of that complaint.

Thereafter, the plaintiff brought the present action alleging, among other things, that her termination was in retaliation for bringing a previous action against the defendant alleging sex discrimination in violation of General Statutes § 46a-60 (a) (4), and for engaging in protected speech, namely, the complaint to the ombudsman, in violation of General Statutes § 31-51q. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel because the factual underpinnings of those claims had been decided adversely to her by the board of mediation in the arbitration proceedings. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment as to these claims on the ground that, under this court’s interpretation of § 31-51bb in Genovese, the doctrine of collateral estoppel does not bar a statutory cause of action that is brought after the same issue has been decided in arbitration pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. The defendant then filed this appeal. The defendant contends that (1) Genovese should be overruled as a result of the legislature’s subsequent enactment of General Statutes § 1-2z, and (2) even if Genovese should not be overruled as the result of § 1-2z, it should be overruled because it was wrongly decided under then existing law. We conclude that Genovese is still good law and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Judicial Branch Now Publishing Headnotes for its Supreme & Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=534

The Judicial Branch has announced that it is now publishing a syllabus (headnote) at the top of each Supreme and Appellate Court opinion:

The Judicial Branch is now posting online headnotes for both Supreme and Appellate Court opinions. These headnotes, which accompany individual Supreme and Appellate Court decisions, include a short summary of the ruling and the procedural history of a case. The Reporter of Judicial Decisions prepares the headnotes, which are not part of the opinion. As such, the opinion alone should be relied upon for the reasoning behind the decision [Emphasis added].

Subscribe to a case law category (or categories) of your choice through our Email Digest or RSS delivery services to receive the latest cases from the Supreme or Appellate Courts delivered directly to your inbox.


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=511

AC38599 - Healey v. Haymond Law Firm, P.C. ("The defendant, The Haymond Law Firm, P.C., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, awarding its former employee, the plaintiff, Robert E. Healey, damages for unpaid wages pursuant to General Statutes § 31-72. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by charging the jury on the amended version of § 31-72 because the amendment took effect after this action had commenced. Therefore, the defendant argues, the court was required to charge the jury on the repealed version of that statute that had been in effect at the time the alleged injuries occurred. The defendant also claims that the court’s instruction on the amended version of the statute was a clear, obvious, and indisputable error that warrants reversal under the plain error doctrine.

We conclude that the defendant’s claim is unreviewable because it induced the alleged instructional impropriety by affirmatively requesting that the court charge the jury on the amended version of § 31-72. We also conclude that plain error reversal is not warranted in this case. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=510

AC38604 - Pajor v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act ("The plaintiff, John Pajor, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his appeal from the decision of the Employment Security Appeals Division Board of Review (board), which dismissed his appeal from the dismissal of his challenge to a finding that he had been overpaid certain unemployment compensation benefits. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) applied the wrong standard of review to the board’s decision on his motion to correct findings, and (2) concluded that the board’s determination that the plaintiff did not show good cause for failing to attend a hearing on remand before an appeals referee was not arbitrary, unreasonable, or an abuse of discretion. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=454

AC38445 - Evans v. Tiger Claw, Inc.("The plaintiff, Christopher Evans, appeals from the judgment, rendered after a trial to the court, denying his claim for hourly wages allegedly due from the defendant, Tiger Claw, Inc. (defendant). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred (1) 'in failing to apply or misapplying fundamental tenets of wage and hour law'; (2) 'in applying an incorrect burden of proof'; and (3) 'in finding that [the] plaintiff has not proved that [the] defendant failed to pay any wages to which [the] plaintiff was otherwise entitled.' 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=368

AC37529 - Jones v. Dept. of Children & Families ("In this employment discrimination case, the plaintiff, Michael Jones, appeals from the trial court’s judgment in favor of the defendant, the Department of Children and Families. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that he did not meet his burden of persuasion with respect to his allegations that the defendant subjected him to unlawful discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation. See Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the court: (1) improperly imposed on the plaintiff the burden of proving the falsity of the reason given by the defendant for the termination, (2) improperly applied an adverse inference against the plaintiff (3) failed to correctly apply the 'cat’s paw' theory of liability, (4) erred by failing to make factual findings regarding discriminatory animus held by the plaintiff’s supervisors, and (5) improperly concluded that the plaintiff’s retaliation claim relied on timing alone. We disagree with the plaintiff’s assertions and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=361

SC19622 - Amaral Brothers, Inc. v. Dept. of Labor (Administrative appeal; "General Statutes § 31-60 (b) carves out certain exceptions to Connecticut's minimum wage laws. Among other things, § 31-60 (b) directs the Labor Commissioner, acting through the defendant, the Department of Labor, to adopt regulations that recognize that employers may include gratuities as part of the minimum fair wage for employees in the restaurant and hotel industries who customarily and regularly receive gratuities (tip credit). The primary question raised by this appeal is whether the department's regulations, which limit the tip credit to bartenders and traditional waitstaff and do not allow employers to count gratuities toward the minimum wage for other employees such as restaurant delivery drivers, conflict with the enabling statute. Because we conclude that the regulations are not incompatible with § 31-60 (b), we affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing the appeal of the plaintiff, Amaral Brothers, Inc., from the commissioner's declaratory ruling that the plaintiff's drivers are not subject to a tip credit.")


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