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Property Law

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 After that action eventually was withdrawn, the plaintiff brought the present action in the Superior Court against Opie and Church for slander of title.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.")


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.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3199

AC40143 - Errichetti v. Botoff (Malicious erection of fence; injunction; "This case is about a so-called 'spite fence' erected along the border between two residential properties in Greenwich. The defendants, Daniel Botoff and Laura Botoff, appeal from the trial court's judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Michael Errichetti, entering an injunction pursuant to General Statutes § 52-480, which required the defendants to remove the fence that they had constructed on their property and to restore the surrounding area. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court erred by (1) finding the second and third elements of § 52-480 satisfied, namely, a malicious erection of the structure and the intention to injure the enjoyment of the adjacent landowner's property, and (2) ordering the defendants to restore the area in which the fence was erected to its previous condition. We disagree, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3181

AC39912 - 57 Broad Street Stamford, LLC v. Summer House Owners, LLC (Injunction; action seeking injunction restraining defendant from interfering with plaintiffs' alleged rights under certain easement; "In this easement dispute, the plaintiffs, 57 Broad Street Stamford, LLC, and 59 Broad Street Stamford, LLC, appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court, following a trial to the court, in favor of the defendant, Summer House Owners, LLC. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred in concluding that (1) the defendant's construction of a 1500 square foot service access structure within a 6900 square foot easement area did not materially interfere with the plaintiffs' reasonable use and enjoyment of the easement area, and (2) the defendant had the unilateral right to determine the method, timing, and location by which the plaintiffs might use the easement area. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40314 - Jordan v. Biller (Trespass; license and view easement; "The defendants, Jon and Jacqueline Biller, appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiffs, Russell Jordan and Lorraine Jorsey. The defendants claim that the court improperly determined that a view easement granted to previous owners of their property was not appurtenant to their land. The defendants also claim that the court erred in awarding the plaintiffs damages. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39774 - Rocco v. Shaikh (Quiet title; discharge of invalid lien; "The defendants, Abdulhamid D. Shaikh and Rukaiyabanu A. Shaikh, appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Shara Rocco and Patrick Rocco. On appeal, the defendants claim that (1) the plaintiffs lacked standing to maintain their causes of action because Shara Rocco transferred her interest in the subject property to a trust before the court rendered judgment; (2) the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over count two of the plaintiffs' complaint because the statutory grounds on which the plaintiffs relied did not apply to the type of lien at issue in the present case; and (3) we should exercise our supervisory authority over the administration of justice to reverse the judgment because it was procured by fraud, both by the plaintiffs and by the defendants' former attorney. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3167

SC20044 - Hartford v. CBV Parking Hartford, LLC (Eminent domain; "The plaintiff, the city of Hartford, exercised its power of eminent domain to take certain property owned by three defendants to advance the city's redevelopment plan that included the construction of a minor league baseball stadium in close proximity to the defendants' property. The defendants, believing that the compensation offered by the city did not account for the increased value and prospects for their property due to the planned ballpark, appealed from the statement of compensation filed by the city. The trial court sustained the appeal, increasing the amount of compensation by approximately $3 million and ordering the city to pay interest at the rate of 7.22 percent. The city appeals from that judgment, claiming that the trial court (1) improperly valued the property on the basis of an unreasonable assumption that the defendants would assemble their parcels with adjoining properties owned by the city for commercial development, and (2) exceeded its authority under General Statutes § 37-3c in its award of interest. We disagree with the city's first claim but agree with its second claim.")


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3152

SC19917 - Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc. (Personal property taxes; attorney's fees; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether the trial court's determination that General Statutes § 12-161a, which requires that a property owner pay the attorney's fees of a municipality in actions brought to collect delinquent personal property taxes, entitled a municipality to an award for the attorney's fees it incurred in a related federal action is an appealable final judgment under our decisions in Hylton v. Gunter, 313 Conn. 472, 97 A.3d 970 (2014), and Paranteau v. DeVita, 208 Conn. 515, 544 A.2d 634 (1988), when the trial court has not yet determined the amount of those fees. The defendant, WMS Gaming, Inc., appeals, upon our granting of its petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court granting the motion to dismiss the defendant's appeal filed by the plaintiff, the town of Ledyard. Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc., 171 Conn. App. 624, 625, 157 A.3d 1215 (2017). On appeal, the defendant relies on the bright line rule set forth in Paranteau, namely, that 'a judgment on the merits is final for purposes of appeal even though the recoverability or amount of attorney's fees for the litigation remains to be determined'; Paranteau v. DeVita, supra, 523; and contends that the Appellate Court improperly dismissed its appeal for lack of a final judgment by relying on footnote 11 of this court's decision in Paranteau, which states that a 'supplemental postjudgment award of attorney's fees becomes final and appealable . . . not when there is a finding of liability for such fees, but when the amount of fees are conclusively determined. A finding as to liability only, prior to a determination on the issue of damages, is not a final judgment from which an appeal lies.' Id., 524 n.11. Guided by our analysis of Paranteau and Hylton, we agree with the defendant, and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and remand the case to that court for further proceedings.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3096

AC39163 - Davis v. Property Owners Assn. at Moodus Lake Shores, Inc. ("The plaintiffs . . . appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant Property Owners Association at Moodus Lake Shores, Inc. The plaintiffs claim on appeal that the court erred by (1) denying their motions in limine seeking to preclude the defendants' experts from testifying and (2) not finding that the plaintiffs had an easement by implication over the defendants' property. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3091

SC19750 - Walgreen Eastern Co. v. West Hartford (Property tax appeal; assessments; "The plaintiff, Walgreen Eastern Company, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying, in part, its appeal from the decision of the Board of Assessment Appeals (board) of the defendant, the town of West Hartford (town). The trial court concluded that the plaintiff had established aggrievement under General Statutes § 12-117a because the town overvalued its property. The court then found a new valuation for the subject property and ordered the town to provide the plaintiff with the appropriate reimbursement or credit for any overpayment plus interest. In addition, the trial court also determined that the town's assessment was not manifestly excessive under General Statutes § 12-119.

In the present appeal, the plaintiff claims that, although the trial court correctly determined that the plaintiff had established aggrievement by showing that the town's valuation of the property was excessive, it incorrectly (1) determined the true and actual value of the subject property, and (2) concluded that the town's valuation of the subject property was not manifestly excessive. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3084

AC39977 - Hum v. Silvester (Injunction; whether trial court correctly determined that defendants had prescriptive easement over shared driveway; "This appeal centers on an easement for shared use of a driveway over a lot of land in Stonington providing access to an adjacent lot. The plaintiffs, Chi Hum and Mai Lee Yue Hum, owners of the burdened lot, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the defendants, Mark S. Silvester and Nancy J. Hoerrner. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly found on the basis of the evidence that (1) the defendants were entitled to a prescriptive easement over the driveway, (2) the defendants were entitled to an implied easement over the driveway, and (3) granting an implied easement was legally consistent with the grant of a prescriptive easement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3039

AC39515 - Kaplan v. Scheer (Reformation of deed; "This case concerns a settlement agreement pursuant to which (1) the defendants . . . granted the plaintiff . . . an easement for pedestrian and vehicular access to a portion of the plaintiff's driveway that lay on the defendants' property (driveway easement), and (2) the parties exchanged quitclaim deeds. The plaintiff now contends that these deeds were recorded in the wrong order and, as a result, her deed inadvertently conveyed to the defendants a different easement, one that previously had allowed her to cross the defendants' property to access Long Island Sound (water easement). The plaintiff contends that this conveyance was not something the parties bargained for when they reached their agreement. She brought the underlying action seeking to restore the water easement through various equitable remedies; she now appeals from the judgment of the trial court, following a trial to that court, in favor of the defendants. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court (1) misinterpreted the settlement agreement by finding that the alphanumeric prefixes in it were included only for convenience and did not bear upon the parties' intent and (2) improperly rejected her claim of mutual mistake. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39687 - Gartrell v. Hartford (Directed verdict; action for damages for violations of state building code; "The plaintiffs, Joseph Gartrell, 481 Albany Avenue, and Wonder Package, LLC, appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for a directed verdict in favor of the defendant city of Hartford (city). The plaintiffs claim that the trial court erred in directing a verdict for the city on the basis of the jury's answer to a single interrogatory. We 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=3007

AC40296 - Reyher v. Finkeldey ("The defendant, John A. Finkeldey, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Mark R. Reyher, a licensed real estate broker doing business as Reyher Real Estate, requiring payment of his commission. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly concluded that the plaintiff procured a buyer who was ready, willing and able to purchase the defendant’s property under the terms of the listing agreement. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2983

SC19891 - FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. v. Stewart (Trepass; "This appeal arises from an action in which the plaintiff . . . alleged that the defendants . . . were trespassing on property that the plaintiff owned along the shore of Candlewood Lake (lake). The trial court rendered judgment for the plaintiff in part. On appeal, the defendants claim that (1) there was insufficient evidence to prove the plaintiff's ownership of the subject property, and (2) the trial court abused its discretion by ordering injunctive relief that was overly broad and exceeded the scope of the relief sought by the plaintiff. We conclude that there is sufficient evidence to support the trial court's finding that the plaintiff owned the subject property and, thus, that the trial court properly found that the defendants had trespassed on the plaintiff's property. We further conclude that the scope of the trial court's injunctive relief is not overly broad. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2978

AC39272 - Jepsen v. Camassar (Declaratory judgment; "The plaintiffs . . . appeal from the declaratory judgment rendered by the trial court in this dispute regarding the modification of a beach deed. In this opinion, we address the plaintiffs' claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the modification in question was properly enacted, (2) concluded that they had not met their burden in establishing slander of title, and (3) declined to render an award of attorney's fees in their favor. We agree with the plaintiffs' first claim and, accordingly, affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2956

AC39197 - Randazzo v. Sakon ("In this amended appeal, the defendant . . . appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the plaintiff . . . acting as trustee for A&F Foods, a general partnership. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in accepting the findings and recommendations of the attorney fact finder . . . and in rendering judgment in accordance with his recommendations. More specifically, the defendant claims that the court improperly: (1) concluded that the plaintiff's cause of action sounds in contract, rather than indemnification, and, therefore, applied the incorrect statute of limitations; (2) concluded that the statute of frauds, General Statutes § 52-550, was inapplicable to this case; and (3) accepted the finding that the town of Glastonbury (town) had imposed real estate taxes on the easement area. We dismiss the defendant's original appeal and, with respect to his amended appeal, we disagree with each of the defendant's claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2926

AC39074 - Bueno v. Firgeleski ("'A covenant that is a servitude "runs with the land".' 1 Restatement (Third), Property, Servitudes § 1.3 (1), p. 23 (2000). 'When a change has taken place since the creation of a servitude that makes it impossible as a practical matter to accomplish the purpose for which the servitude was created, a court may modify the servitude to permit the purpose to be accomplished. If modification is not practicable, or would not be effective, a court may terminate the servitude.' 2 Restatement (Third), Property, Servitudes § 7.10 (1), p. 394 (2000).

This declaratory judgment action concerns the viability of a restrictive covenant (restriction) contained in a 1941 committee deed conveying 1.544 acres of a thirty acre farm in Darien that was once owned by Wilbur N. Waterbury (Waterbury land). The plaintiffs, Luz E. Bueno and Edward R. den Dooven, own 1.38 acres of the Waterbury land. The defendants, Michael Firgeleski, Allison Firgeleski, Pole M. Chan, Jessica M. Chan, Richard B. Myers, Margaret Q. Myers, Scott J. Cronin, and Eileen M. Cronin (collectively, Briar Brae defendants), and Kenneth S. Martin and Rachel P. Martin (Martins), own lots that were created from a portion of the remainder of the thirty acres of the Waterbury land and are adjacent to the plaintiffs’ property. The plaintiffs sought a judgment declaring the restriction void and unenforceable to permit the sale of a portion of their property. In its judgment, the court declared unenforceable the portion of the restriction that limits the plaintiffs’ use of their property to one dwelling house, prohibits the erection of any building within twenty-five feet of the southern boundary, and requires approval of the grantor before erecting a structure on the property.

The defendants appealed, claiming that three of the court’s factual findings are erroneous in that they are not supported by the evidence. With respect to the court’s legal conclusions, the defendants claim that the court (1) improperly looked beyond the four corners of the deeds and (2) misapplied the facts of the present case to Fidelity Title & Trust Co. v. Lomas & Nettleton Co., 125 Conn. 373, 5 A.2d 700 (1939) (restriction’s purpose frustrated) and Shippan Point Assn., Inc. v. McManus, 34 Conn. App. 209, 215, 641 A.2d 144 (same), cert. denied, 229 Conn. 923, 642 A.2d 1215 (1994). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2930

AC39641 - Traylor v. Gambrell ("The plaintiff, Sylvester Traylor, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Cathy Gambrell, Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (agency), the town of Waterford, Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP, and Maciej A. Piatkowski. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants on his claims of spoliation of evidence and in favor of the agency on his claim of unfair trade practices in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and that the court erred in striking his CUTPA claim against Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP.")


Probate Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2920

AC39087 - Bassford v. Bassford (Probate appeal; "The plaintiffs . . . appeal from the judgments of the trial court, dismissing their consolidated appeals from the Court of Probate for the district of Middletown. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court erred as a matter of law by concluding that the decedent, an involuntarily conserved person, (1) was competent (a) to revoke a certain trust he had settled and (b) to receive and retain interest in real property, (2) had the testamentary capacity to execute a will, and (3) was not under the undue influence of the defendant . . . We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=826

AC39273 - Tirado v. Torrington (Allegedly improper tax assessment of plaintiff's motor vehicle; "The plaintiff . . . appeals from the judgment of dismissal rendered by the trial court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the court improperly dismissed the plaintiff's action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to her failure to (1) file her complaint within one year of the tax assessment pursuant to General Statutes § 12-119, and (2) exhaust available administrative remedies prior to filing an action pursuant to General Statutes § 12-117a. We agree that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing suit pursuant to § 12-117a, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=818

AC39006, AC39011- Deane v. Kahn (Declaratory judgment; implied easement; "Since at least 2001, the parties in this case have been engaged in a lengthy legal dispute regarding abutting properties that sit along the bonny banks of the Connecticut River in Lyme. The defendants Amy Day Kahn, Robert Kahn, and John Gorman appeal from the judgment of the trial court finding that an easement exists in favor of the plaintiff, Curtis D. Deane, over the parcels of real property owned by Amy Day Kahn (Kahn property) and Gorman (Gorman property). The defendants' principal claim is that the evidence was insufficient to support the court's ultimate legal conclusion that an easement by implication exists over the Kahn property and, correspondingly, that an easement by deed continues to exist over the Gorman property. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=813

SC19705 - Francini v. Goodspeed Airport, LLC (Declaratory judgment; easement by necessity; "In this certified appeal, we are tasked with determining whether easements by necessity can be granted for commercial utilities. More specifically, we consider whether an easement that affords ingress and egress to an abutting property can later be expanded, by necessity, for utilities. The plaintiff, William Francini, commenced the present action seeking, inter alia, a judgment declaring that he is entitled to an easement by necessity for underground utility lines across the property of the named defendant, Goodspeed Airport, LLC, and an injunction permitting use of the easement. The defendant appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed trial court's award of summary judgment in favor of the defendant. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


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