by
In this dispute over a public records request, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the search and seizure statutes, Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-33a through 54-36p, do not satisfy the requirements set forth in Conn. Get Stat. 1-210(a), which exempts documents from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act that are “otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute….” The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection received a request from The Hartford Courant Company and its reporter (collectively, Courant), seeking copies of documents referred to in a report prepared by the Connecticut State police on the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When the Department did not timely respond to the request, Courant filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission. The Commission concluded that the documents were public records under the Act. The trial court, however, concluded that the documents were exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 1-210(a) because they were seized pursuant to a search warrant as part of the criminal investigation of the incident. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that that records governed by the search and seizure statutes are not exempt from disclosure under the Act. View "Commissioner of Emergency Services & Public Protection v. Freedom of Information Commission" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s judgment of conviction of three counts of illegal practices in campaign financing, holding that the trial court improperly instructed the jury as to the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal campaign financing practices. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that to find him guilty of an illegal campaign financing practice it must find that he acted with specific intent to violate Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-622(7). The State countered that the trial court properly instructed the jury that it had to find that Defendant acted with general intent. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the jury was not properly instructed regarding the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal practices in campaign financing, and it was reasonably possible that the jury was misled. View "State v. Newton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the Commissioner of Transportation (Defendant) on Plaintiff’s complaint alleging, inter alia, that Defendant negligently authorized Hallberg Contracting Company to deposit construction materials on Plaintiff’s property. With Defendant’s consent, Hallberg, a subcontractor on a highway reconstruction project, entered into an oral contract with a third party to use the property for stockpiling construction materials related to a highway reconstruction project. Hallberg deposited thirty-two truckloads of material on the property. The trial court found that Defendant negligently authorized Hallberg to dispose of the construction materials on the property but that Plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages. The court then awarded $29,855 in damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court’s award of damages was not clearly erroneous; (2) the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages was supported by sufficient evidence in the record; and (3) the trial court properly did not award Plaintiff damages for lost profits. View "Sun Val, LLC v. Commissioner of Transportation" on Justia Law

by
At issue was the extent to which Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-256(b)(2) imposes a tax on gross earnings from a satellite television operator’s business operations in Connecticut, including the transmission of video programming, the sale and lease of equipment required to view that programming, the installation and maintenance of such equipment, DVR services, and payment related fees. The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgments of the trial court sustaining in part Plaintiff’s tax appeals and ordering a refund of taxes previously paid on earnings from the sale of certain goods and services, holding (1) the trial court did not err in determining that Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-268i does not provide the exclusive procedure for challenging a tax assessment for a tax period that has been the subject of an audit; (2) section 12-256(b)(2) imposes a tax on gross earnings from the transmission of video programming by satellite and certain payment related fees, but not the sale, lease, installation, or maintenance of equipment or DVR service; and (3) the trial court did not err in determining that Plaintiff was not entitled to interest on the refund pursuant to section 12-268c. View "Dish Network, LLC v. Commissioner of Revenue Services" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting the motions to dismiss filed by Defendants, healthcare providers, on the ground that Plaintiffs failed to commence their action within the five-year repose period of Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-555, the wrongful death statute, holding that, under the facts of this case, the trial court improperly resolved disputed jurisdictional facts without providing Plaintiffs an opportunity either to engage in limited discovery or to present evidence in connection with their argument that the repose period had been tolled by the continuing course of conduct doctrine. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "Angersola v. Radiologic Associates of Middletown, P.C." on Justia Law

by
In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court held that Defendant-employer was collaterally estopped from challenging an employee’s eligibility for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act (state act), Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-275 et seq., because of an earlier decision by a United States Department of Labor administrative law judge (ALJ) awarding benefits to the employee under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Compensation Review Board (Board) reversing the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner dismissing the claims for benefits under the state act filed by Plaintiff, the executor of the decedent’s estate and the decedent’s widow. The Court held that the Board properly determined that the employer in this case was collaterally estopped from relitigating the issue of causation under the state act because the record of the Longshore Act proceedings indicated that the ALJ employed the substantial factor standard that governed the proceedings under the state act. View "Filosi v. Electric Boat Corp." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of threatening in the first degree, two counts of disorderly conduct, and breach of the peace in the second degree, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were unavailing. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the threatening charge on the ground that Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-61aa(a)(3) is unconstitutional as violating free speech protections; (2) the trial court properly considered evidence of events that occurred after Defendant sent a threatening email to support its conclusion that Defendant violated section 53a-61aa(a)(3); and (3) the evidence was sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to convict Defendant of threatening in the first degree in violation of section 53a-61aa(a)(3). View "State v. Taupier" on Justia Law

by
In this dispute over compensation owed after property was taken by eminent domain, the Supreme Court reversed the interest awarded by the trial court and otherwise affirmed the judgment, holding that the trial court lacked authority to set a rate of interest other than the default rate after it rendered its judgment of compensation. Plaintiff, the city of Hartford, took certain property owned by three defendants. Defendants appealed from the statement of compensation filed by the city. The trial court sustained the appeal and increased the amount of compensation. The court then ordered the city to pay interest at the rate of 7.22 percent. The Supreme Court reversed as to the rate of interest and offer of compromise interest, holding (1) the trial court properly valued the property; but (2) the trial court exceeded its authority under Conn. Gen. Stat. 37-3c in awarding interest at the rate of 7.22 percent after it rendered judgment sustaining Defendants’ appeal because Defendants were entitled only to the default rate of interest provided in section 37-3c. The Court remanded the case with direction to award the default rate of interest under section 37-3c. View "Hartford v. CBV Parking Hartford, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court held that there is no right to a jury trial in an action brought under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-556, which waives sovereign immunity for claims arising from a state employee’s negligent operation of a state owned motor vehicle. Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to section 52-556 against the Department of Transportation and claimed the action to the jury trial list. Defendant filed a motion to strike the case from the jury trial list, arguing that section 52-556 creates a new cause of action, unknown at common law, such that the plaintiff has no right to a jury trial. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion and struck the action from the jury trial list. After a trial to the court, the court rendered judgment for Plaintiff, awarding him damages. Plaintiff appealed, challenging the trial court’s determination that section 52-556 does not afford him the right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there is no right to a jury trial for an action brought under section 52-556. View "Smith v. Rudolph" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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

Posted in: Civil Procedure