Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming Defendant's conviction of breach of the peace in the second degree, criminal mischief in the third degree, and threatening in the second degree, holding that there was no error.On appeal, Defendant argued that the Appellate Court erred in determining that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by precluding Defendant from cross-examining the state's key witness about the facts underlying the witness's prior misdemeanor convictions. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the facts underlying the witness's prior misdemeanor conviction were not relevant to veracity, motive, intent, or a common scheme or pattern; and (2) therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by precluding this evidence. View "State v. Rivera" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court granting in part Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss Defendants' appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered following a jury verdict in favor of Plaintiffs on certain medical malpractice claims and denied Defendants' motion to suspend the rules of practice to permit a late appeal, holding that the Appellate Court did not err.On appeal, Defendants argued that the Appellate Court erred in granting Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the portion of the appeal challenging the jury's verdict as untimely and abused its discretion in denying their motion to suspend the rules of practice to permit a later appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the appeal was untimely; and (2) the Appellate Court did not abuse its discretion or work injustice by determining that Defendants had failed to establish good cause for their failure to file a timely appeal. View "Georges v. OB-GYN Services, P.C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court sustaining in part and dismissing in part Lime Rock Park, LLC's appeal from the adoption of the Planning Zoning Commission of the Town of Salisbury of certain amendments to the Town's zoning regulations restricting motor vehicle racing activities on property owned by Lime Rock, holding that the trial court erred in part.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court erred when it (a) sustained the portion of Plaintiff's appeal claiming that the provision of the regulations prohibiting racing activities on Sundays was statutorily preempted, (b) denied the portion of the appeal claiming that the Commission lacked the authority to condition the filing of a petition to amend the regulations on obtaining a special permit, and (c) concluded that the amended regulation prohibited racing activities on Saturdays; and (2) the trial court did not err when it denied the portion of the appeal claiming that the restrictions on unmufflered racing are subject to the provision of Conn. Gen. Stat. 22a-73(c) requiring the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection to approve municipal noise control ordinances. View "Lime Rock Park, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission" on Justia Law

Posted in: Gaming Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Boehringer Ingelheim International, GmbH, on claims brought by Plaintiff, the executrix of the decedent's estate, that an oral anticoagulant medication wrongfully caused the decedent's death, holding that the trial court did not err.Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the trial court did not improperly (1) preclude evidence and arguments related to spoliation; (2) prevent Plaintiff from using an excerpt from a particular deposition on rebuttal; (3) grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment on a design defect claim relating to the absence of a reversal agent; and (4) issue a curative instruction to the jury after closing arguments. View "Boone v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Appellate Court summarily dismissing Defendants' appeal challenging the priority of Plaintiff's mortgage over Defendants' mortgage for want of a final judgment, holding that a determination of the priority of mortgages can be challenged in an appeal from the judgment of foreclosure by sale, before the foreclosure sale has taken place, when the priority of the foreclosing plaintiff's mortgage is in dispute.Plaintiff sought a judgment of foreclosure on certain real property and a declaratory judgment that his mortgage had priority over an alleged mortgage on the property held by Defendants. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal for want of a final judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the judgment of foreclosure by sale was a final judgment that manifestly met the requirements of Practice Book 61-2. View "Saunders v. KDFBS, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the trial court denying Plaintiff's motion to substitute the coexecutors of the estate of Defendant, her former husband, in his place, holding that the trial court erred in denying Plaintiff's motion to substitute as defendants the coexecutors of Defendant's estate.At issue was whether, under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-599, a party to a dissolution of marriage action may substitute the executor of the estate of a deceased party in the place of the decedent when the pending civil proceeding seeks to open a judgment of dissolution on the basis of financial fraud. The trial court in this case determined that granting Plaintiff's motion to open would reinstate the parties' marriage and the reinstated marriage automatically would be dissolved due to Defendant's death, and therefore, the opened action for dissolution would abate, thereby prohibiting substitution under section 52-599(b). The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that because Plaintiff sought the opening of the dissolution judgment for the limited purpose of reconsidering the financial orders only, the granting of the motion would not have reinstated the parties' marriage, and Defendant's death did not defeat and render useless the underlying civil proceeding. View "Foisie v. Foisie" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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In this medical malpractice action the Supreme Court dismissed this appeal insofar as Defendants challenged the subject matter jurisdiction of the trial court to open and vacate the final judgment of dismissal, holding that the substitute plaintiff had standing to move to open the judgment.The decedent, the eleven-year-old-son of Karla Wolfork and Damian Pisani, died while hospitalized. The probate court appointed Wolfork as the administratrix of the decedent's estate and Pisani as coadministrator. Wolfork, in her representative capacity, filed a medical negligence action against Defendants on behalf of the decedent's estate. The trial court later sua sponte dismissed the action pursuant to Practice Book 14-3 for failure to file a withdrawal of the action within the allotted time period. Pisani subsequently moved to open and vacate the judgment of dismissal, explaining that Wolfork had been removed as administratrix of the estate and that Pisani had been appointed sole administrator with the authority to handle all litigation. The trial court granted Pisani's motion, and Defendants appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal in part and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that Pisani had standing to move to open the judgment of dismissal, and therefore, the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to open and vacate the judgment. View "Wolfork v. Yale Medical Group" on Justia Law

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In this action for constructive discharge, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment granting Defendant's motion to strike, holding that Plaintiff's complaint failed as a matter of law to allege that Defendant created a work atmosphere so difficult or unpleasant that a reasonable person in Plaintiff's shoes would have felt compelled to resign.Plaintiff, an optician formerly employed by Defendant, brought this action alleging that Defendant required him to violate public policy and that, as a result, Plaintiff was compelled to resign. The trial court granted Defendant's motion to strike, relying on Brittell v. Department of Correction 7171 A.2d 1254 (Conn. 1998). The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed sufficiently to allege the second requirement of a constructive discharge claim in his complaint. View "Karagozian v. USV Optical, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants on numerous tort claims following an unsuccessful pelvic mesh surgery, holding that the trial court properly directed a verdict on Plaintiffs' innocent misrepresentation claim because that claim did not lie as a matter of law in this context.In their complaint, Plaintiffs alleged lack of informed consent, innocent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and loss of consortium. The court directed a verdict for Plaintiffs on the innocent misrepresentation claim. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict for Defendants on the remaining counts. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly (1) excluded two medical journal articles from evidence as hearsay when they had been offered to prove notice; and (2) directed a verdict for Defendants on the innocent misrepresentation claims. View "Farrell v. Johnson & Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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In this dissolution of marriage action, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment of civil contempt rendered against Plaintiff, holding that the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court properly found Plaintiff in contempt of court and properly denied the parties' joint motion to open and vacate the judgment of contempt. One year after Plaintiff commenced a dissolution action Defendant filed a motion for contempt, arguing that Plaintiff committed a willful violation of a court order when he withdrew approximately $70,000 from the parties' joint account and placed it into a separate, personal account. The court granted the motion after a hearing. Plaintiff filed a motion seeking reconsideration of the decision, which the trial court denied. Later, the parties filed a joint motion to open and vacate the judgment of contempt in part. The trial court denied the motion. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Appellate Court did not err in finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding Plaintiff in contempt and failing to open and vacate the judgment of contempt. View "Hall v. Hall" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law