Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court

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A party’s delay in raising a challenge to the trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction is an improper ground on which to deny a motion for judgment of dismissal insofar as the motion challenged subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Plaintiff in this negligence action. The trial court entered judgment after denying Defendant’s motion for judgment of dismissal raising a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court held that the trial court’s stated rationale of delay and laches for denying the motion for judgment of dismissal was not a proper basis for denial. Rather, the trial court should have first resolved whether Defendant’s motion raised a colorable jurisdictional issue and, if so, whether it had jurisdiction over the cause of action. The court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Machado v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff contested the legality of the decedent’s will. Plaintiff then filed a second notice of claim seeking reimbursement of money advanced to the decedent. A number of motions subsequently followed, along with an affidavit filed by Plaintiff indicating his intention to remove the case to the superior court for a jury trial. After a hearing, the probate court concluded that some of the matters were eligible for removal and the remainder were not. Plaintiff later filed a complaint alleging that the probate court lacked jurisdiction over the matters decided at the hearing. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that, as an appeal, it was untimely. Plaintiff argued in response that the action was not an appeal but an action challenging the probate court’s retention of jurisdiction over the case. The trial court rejected Plaintiff’s arguments, concluded that Plaintiff’s action was untimely, and granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly treated the present action as an appeal but incorrectly determined that the appeal was barred by the statute of limitations set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. 45a-186(a). Under the facts of this case, however, the appeal was filed prematurely. View "Connery v. Gieske" on Justia Law

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The trial court found that VitalWorks, Inc. and Cerner Physician Associates, Inc. (together, Defendants) violated the Connecticut Unfair trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by making misrepresentations during the sale of practice management and electronic medical records software to Western Dermatology Consultants, P.C. (Plaintiff). The Appellate Court reversed and directed the trial court to render judgment for Defendants on the CUTPA count, concluding that, under applicable choice of law principles, the law of New Mexico, rather than CUTPA, governed Plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court with respect to its disposition of Plaintiff’s CUTPA claim and otherwise affirmed, holding that the Appellate Court did not err in determining that Plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim is governed by New Mexico law, but the case must be remanded for a new trial so that New Mexico law can be applied to that claim. Remanded to the trial court for a new trial on Plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim. View "Western Dermatology Consultants, P.C. v. VitalWorks, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a married couple proceeding as self-represented parties, commenced a legal malpractice action against Defendants by way of a complaint and a summons. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the writ of summons failed to provide either a recognizance by a third party or a certification of Plaintiffs’ financial responsibility. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the action. The Appellate Court summarily affirmed the judgment of dismissal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to afford Plaintiffs an opportunity to file a bond to avoid dismissal of the action. Remanded. View "Costello v. Goldstein & Peck, P.C." on Justia Law

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A nearly century old dispute among neighbors in a housing development along the Long Island Sound over access to the shore has given rise to numerous actions, two of which have reached the Supreme Court over the past decade. At issue in the present consolidated appeals was whether certain prior actions barred, via the doctrine of res judicata, two claims in Plaintiffs’ consolidated quiet title actions. The trial court denied Defendants’ motions for summary as to those claims pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs’ claims were not sufficiently similar to those asserted in the prior actions such that they should have been brought in the same action; and (2) Plaintiffs were not in privity with other lot owners involved in prior actions. View "Wheeler v. Beachcroft" on Justia Law

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An inmate was attacked by another inmate and died from his injuries. Plaintiffs, the victim’s mother and sister, applied for compensation from Defendant, the Office of Victim Services. Defendant declined to compensate Plaintiffs. After a hearing, the Victim Compensation Commissioner denied Plaintiffs’ request for review. Plaintiffs subsequently appealed the Commissioner’s decision. More than four years later, shortly before trial, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ appeal on the ground that it was untimely filed. The trial court dismissed Plaintiffs’ appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding that Plaintiffs did not timely appeal in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-211a. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs satisfied the requirements of section 54-211a by properly serving a writ of summons and a complaint on Defendant within thirty days of the Commissioner’s decision. View "Cales v. Office of Victim Servs." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Defendant, alleging that Defendant aided and abetted Plaintiff’s former attorneys in breaching their fiduciary duties to Plaintiff and that Defendant’s actions violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The trial court entered summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the applicable three year statutes of limitations and that tolling was inapplicable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff sufficiently invoked the continuing course of conduct doctrine before the trial court; but (2) equitable tolling pursuant to the continuing course of conduct doctrine was not available under the facts of this case. View "Flannery v. Singer Asset Fin. Co., LLC" on Justia Law

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This action was the culmination of a long-standing disagreement between two attorneys. The present appeal centered on the judgment of the appellate court concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 51-183c required the judge trial referee to recuse himself from presiding over a hearing regarding the reasonableness of Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the appellate court improperly considered the merits of Defendant’s claims regarding the recusal of the judge because this issue was moot; and (2) because the appellate court remanded the case for a new hearing without addressing Defendant’s other claims, the case must be remanded for consideration of those claims. View "Gagne v. Vaccaro" on Justia Law