Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court dismissing the appeal filed by Defendant, a property owner, of the trial court’s determination that Plaintiff, a municipality, was entitled to an award for the attorney’s fees it incurred in a related federal action for lack of a final judgment, holding that the trial court’s determination was an appealable final judgment. The trial court granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to liability with respect to the federal action attorney’s fees, concluding that Defendant was liable for the federal action attorney’s fees under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-161a. Defendant appealed. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal, concluding that the trial court’s judgment with respect to the federal action attorney’s fees was not an appealable final judgment absent a determination of the amount of the attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court’s ruling on the parties’ motions for summary judgment as to liability constituted an appealable final judgment pursuant to the bright line rule articulated in Paranteau v. DeVita, 544 A.2d 634 (1988). View "Town of Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of Defendant following the grant of Defendant’s motion to strike, holding that an action authorized by the claims commissioner, limited to medical malpractice, may not survive a motion to strike where the plaintiff was not a patient of the defendant, as required by Jarmie v. Troncale, 50 A.3d 802 (2012). Plaintiff, administratrix of the estate of the decedent in this case, sought permission to bring an action against Defendant for medical malpractice based on mental health services and treatment given to Robert Rankin, who allegedly fatally stabbed the decedent. The claims commissioner granted Plaintiff permission to bring an action under Conn. Gen. Stat. 4-160(b), limited to medical malpractice. Plaintiff then brought this action. Defendant filed a motion to strike the complaint, arguing that Connecticut does not recognize medical malpractice claims brought by nonpatient third parties. The trial court granted the motion to strike and then rendered judgment for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Jarmie prohibits an action, limited by the claims commissioner to medical malpractice, where the plaintiff was not a patient of the defendant; and (2) if Plaintiff’s action sounded in negligence, then the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claim. View "Levin v. State" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court granting the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s administrative appeal from the Commission’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss an employment discrimination complaint brought by a former female employee, holding that the Commission’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss was not an immediately appealable order. A former female employee of Plaintiff, a religious school, filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that Plaintiff had wrongfully terminated her employment on the basis of her sex, marital status, and pregnancy. Plaintiff moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing it was immune from employment discrimination actions under the ministerial exception to employment discrimination laws. The Commission denied Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff appealed. The trial court granted the Commission’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly determined that Plaintiff had failed to make a colorable claim of immunity under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-571b(d) and, therefore, the Commission’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss the employment discrimination complaint was not an immediately appealable order. View "Trinity Christian School v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff’s collateral attack on Sowell v. DiCara, 127 A.3d 356 (Conn. App. Ct. 2015), cert. denied, 128 A.3d 953 (Conn. 2015), in this declaratory judgment action was nonjusticiable under Valvo v. Freedom of Information Commission, 985 A.2d 1052 (Conn. 2010). Plaintiff filed a writ error (first writ) claiming that a judge had improperly found clear and convincing evidence that he had violated Rule 4.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Appellate Court found that Plaintiff had violated Rule 4.2 and dismissed the first writ. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a writ of error in the Supreme Court challenging the Appellate Court’s actions (second writ). The Appellate Court dismissed the second writ. Plaintiff then filed the present action against a law firm and the Appellate Court claiming that the Appellate Court’s construction of Rule 4.2 was a due process violation. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, concluding that the claims against the Appellate Court were barred by sovereign immunity. On appeal, Plaintiff claimed that the trial court erred in concluding that Plaintiff’s challenge to the Appellate Court’s interpretation of Rule 4.2 in Sowell was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed on the alternative ground that Plaintiff’s collateral attack on Sowell was nonjusticiable under Vavlo. View "Mendillo v. Tinley, Renehan & Dost, LLP" on Justia Law

by
Exercising jurisdiction over Defendant-insurer under the circumstances of this case was permitted by Connectictut’s corporate long arm statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 33-929(f)(1), and comported with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendant issued an automobile insurance policy covering a vehicle driven by Insured. The policy was written in New York at Defendant’s principal place of business, and Defendant did not direct or participate in any business transactions in Connecticut at the time. The coverage territory of the policy included Connecticut. Insured’s vehicle later collided with a vehicle occupied by Plaintiffs. A judgment was rendered against Insured in favor of Plaintiffs. Defendant failed to defend Insured or to indemnify him for the judgment rendered against him. Plaintiffs then brought this action against Defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s agreement to defend and indemnify Insured established personal jurisdiction under the long arm statute and that subjecting Defendant to the jurisdiction of this state comported with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. View "Samelko v. Kingstone Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court in favor of Plaintiff against Defendants, Joan Frank and George Frank, holding that there was no final judgment as to George, and therefore, the Appellate Court lacked jurisdiction over Defendants’ joint appeal. Plaintiff filed this action alleging common-law enforcement of a foreign default judgment and seeking recovery under theories of breach of contract and quantum meruit. The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff on count one against George and on count two against Joan. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, rejecting Defendants’ claims on appeal on the merits. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court’s failure to dispose of either the contract count or the quantum meruit count as to George resulted in the lack of a final judgment, and therefore, the Appellate Court should have dismissed Defendants’ joint appeal. View "Meribear Productions, Inc. v. Frank" on Justia Law

by
The thirty-day deadline provided by Practice Book 11-21, which governs motions for attorney’s fees, is directory rather than mandatory, thus affording a trial court discretion to entertain untimely motions. In this contract and promissory estoppel action, the trial court rendered judgment for Plaintiff. The Appellate Court reversed and remanded to the trial court with direction to render judgment in favor of Defendant. Defendant filed a motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-150bb. The trial court denied the motion on the basis that the motion was not timely. The Appellate Court reversed, determining that the thirty day deadline set forth in Practice Book 11-21 is directory. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Practice Book 11-21 is directory and therefore affords the trial court discretion to entertain untimely motions for attorney’s fees in appropriate cases; and (2) the Appellate Court properly remanded the case for a hearing on Defendant’s motion. View "Meadowbrook Center, Inc. v. Buchman" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court adopted the decision of the trial court as a statement of the facts and the applicable law on the issues raised in this case regarding whether Plaintiff’s claim was justiciable and not rendered moot by subsequent legislation or barred by the doctrine of laches. Plaintiff, the town of Glastonbury, brought this action seeking a determination that, prior to 2014, the Metropolitan District Commission (Defendant), a quasi-municipal corporation that provides potable water to eight member and five nonmember towns, unlawfully imposed surcharges on it and other nonmember towns. While the action was pending, the legislature enacted No. 14-21 of the 2014 Special Acts (S.A. 14-21), which authorized Defendant to impose a surcharge on nonmember towns under certain conditions. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that S.A. 14-21 was retroactive and rendered Plaintiff’s claim moot. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that the special act was not retroactive and that the surcharges imposed prior to the passage of the special act were unlawful. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "Glastonbury v. Metropolitan District Commission" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff’s action against Defendants in their individual capacities was properly dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff, an inmate, brought this action against defendant state employees in their official and invidious capacities, alleging that they had violated his constitutional rights because they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims against Defendants in their individual capacities because Plaintiff failed properly to serve Defendants in their individual capacities pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-57(a). The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Appellate Court fully considered and properly resolved the issue against Plaintiff. View "Harnage v. Lightner" on Justia Law

by
Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-593a, a remedial savings statute that operates to render an action timely commenced so long as process is delivered to a marshal prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations and served within thirty days, does not preclude a plaintiff from proving timely delivery of process to the marshal by means other than the statutorily prescribed method. The Appellate Court concluded that the endorsement requirement of section 52-593a(b) is directory rather than mandatory. The Supreme Court agreed. An analysis of prior cases and the legislative history of section 52-593a leads to the conclusion that the endorsement requirement is directive. In this case, there existed a genuine issue of material fact s to whether timely delivery was made, and therefore, the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment in the defendants’ favor. View "Doe v. Town of West Hartford" on Justia Law