Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Landmark Inv. Group, LLC v. CALCO Constr. & Dev. Co.
In 2005, Landmark Investment Group, LLC entered into a contract with Chung Family Realty Partnership, LLC (Chung, LLC) to purchase certain property. Chung, LLC repudiated the contract after receiving a more attractive offer from CALCO Construction & Development Company (Calco) and John Senese, Calco’s president and owner (together, Defendants). Landmark successfully sued for specific performance of the contract but was unable to purchase the property after it was sold at a foreclosure auction where a company controlled by Senese was the highest bidder. Landmark then filed suit against Defendants, alleging tortious interference with its contractual relations and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The jury returned a verdict in favor of Landmark on both counts. The trial court, however, granted Defendants’ motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) and rendered judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court (1) improperly granted Defendants’ motion for JNOV because it failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the jury’s verdict; and (2) incorrectly concluded that Landmark presented insufficient evidence to support its claims. View "Landmark Inv. Group, LLC v. CALCO Constr. & Dev. Co." on Justia Law
Artie’s Auto Body, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co.
Plaintiffs, automobile body shops and an auto body association, brought this class action against Defendant, The Hartford Fire Insurance Company, on behalf of more than 1,000 independent auto body repair shops in Connecticut, claiming that Defendant violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by requiring its staff motor vehicle physical damage appraisers to use, when appraising auto body damage sustained by Defendant’s insureds, the hourly labor rates agreed on by Defendant and the plaintiff auto body shops instead of rates that more accurately reflect the actual value of those services. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs, concluding that Defendant’s hourly rate practices constituted an unfair trade practice because they offended the public policy found in section 38a-790-8 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court incorrectly concluded that section 38a-790-8 supports Plaintiffs’ CUTPA claim alleging unfair labor rate practices. View "Artie's Auto Body, Inc. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Joseph Gen. Contracting, Inc. v. Couto
John and Jane Couto entered into a contract with Joseph General Contracting, Inc. for the purchase and construction of a home and carriage house. The trial court found that the contract existed also between the Coutos and Anthony Silvestri, the owner and president of Joseph General. After disputes arose regarding the construction of the dwellings, Joseph General sued the Coutos for, inter alia, breach of contract. The Coutos counterclaimed against Joseph General, Silvestri and Landel Realty, LLC. The trial court held Joseph General, Landel and Silvestri each jointly and severally liable for breach of contract and implied warranty, trespass and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). Silvestri appealed the propriety of these adverse rulings with respect to his personal liability. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment pertaining to Silvestri in an individual capacity. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court as to the claims of breach and contract and implied warranty against Silvestri in his individual capacity and affirmed in all other respects, holding that the Appellate Court (1) erred in determining that Silvestri had incurred contractual obligations to the Coutos in his individual capacity; and (2) properly determined that Silvestri could be held individually liable for alleged violations of CUTPA. View "Joseph Gen. Contracting, Inc. v. Couto" on Justia Law
Fairchild Heights Residents Ass’n, Inc. v. Fairchild Heights, Inc.
Fairchild Heights Residents Association, Inc. (Association), filed suit against Defendant, Fairchild Heights, Inc., for negligence and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The trial court found in favor of Defendant on all counts. The Association appealed, arguing that the appellate court erred in concluding that it failed to exhaust its administrative remedies before requesting declaratory relief and that it did not have standing to bring an action under CUTPA. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the Association had standing to assert a CUPTA claim, as (1) there was no administrative remedy the association could have exhausted to obtain the relief it sought before bringing its CUTPA claim; and (2) the Association did not require the participation of all its individual members to allege ascertainable loss for the purpose of obtaining injunctive and other equitable relief under CUTPA. Remanded for a new trial on Plaintiff’s CUTPA claim. View "Fairchild Heights Residents Ass’n, Inc. v. Fairchild Heights, Inc." on Justia Law
Flannery v. Singer Asset Fin. Co., LLC
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
Ulbrich v. Groth
Plaintiff successfully bid at a combined foreclosure sale of real estate and secured party auction of personal property owned by Debtors. Bank held mortgage and security interests in the real and personal property. Auctioneer conducted the auction. After purchasing the property, Plaintiff discovered he would not receive much of the personal property he believed to be in the sale. Plaintiff and the current owner of the property (Plaintiffs) brought this action against Debtors, Bank, and Auctioneer (collectively, Defendants), claiming that Defendants' failure to inform Plaintiffs there were conflicting claims as to the ownership of the property constituted negligence and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), among other causes of action. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiffs on four of their counts. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the trial court (1) improperly concluded that Defendants had a common-law duty to Plaintiffs to properly identify the personal property that was subject to the secured party sale; and (2) lacked the authority to award nontaxable costs pursuant to CUTPA. View "Ulbrich v. Groth" on Justia Law
Chief Info. Officer v. Computers Plus Ctr., Inc.
This case arose from disputes between the Department of Information Technology and Defendant, a computer equipment supplier, over two contracts between the parties. The Department filed this action against Defendant, alleging breach of contract and fraud claims. Defendant filed an amended counterclaim, alleging takings and due process violations. The Department moved to dismiss the takings and due process claims based on the State's sovereign immunity. The trial court determined that the Department had waived the State's sovereign immunity regarding Defendant's counterclaims by bringing this cause of action against Defendant. After a jury trial, the trial court awarded Defendant damages on its procedural due process counterclaim. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant on the procedural due process counterclaim, holding that the Department did not waive the state's sovereign immunity by initiating the present litigation, and therefore, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Defendant's counterclaims; and (2) affirmed in all other respects. View "Chief Info. Officer v. Computers Plus Ctr., Inc." on Justia Law
State v. Acordia, Inc.
Defendant, an independent insurance broker, offered its clients insurance products from multiple insurance companies. Plaintiff, the State, brought this action against Defendant, alleging that Defendant's failure to disclose to its clients certain contingent commission agreements that it had entered into with the insurance companies violated the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA) and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court improperly concluded that Defendant violated CUIPA; and (2) in the absence of a CUIPA violation in this case, the CUTPA claim failed. View "State v. Acordia, Inc." on Justia Law
Marinos v. Poirot
Decedent hired David Poirot as an associate in his law office. After Decedent died, Poirot left Decedent's law office to open his open practice. Poirot and Gordon Johnson (collectively, Defendants) subsequently litigated two traumatic brain injury cases that had originated in Decedent's law office. Plaintiff, Decedent's wife, filed a complaint against Defendants, alleging, inter alia, violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that Plaintiff failed to identify any evidence of damages resulting from her claimed CUTPA violations. The appellate court affirmed, concluding that Plaintiff's failure to produce an itemization of her claimed damages was fatal to her CUTPA claims. The Supreme Court affirmed but on other grounds, holding (1) a litigant need not produce "an itemization" of her claimed CUTPA damages in order to defeat a defendant's motion for summary judgment; but (2) the trial court correctly determined that Plaintiff had failed to identify any evidence of ascertainable loss. View "Marinos v. Poirot" on Justia Law
Elec. Contractors, Inc. v. Dep’t of Educ.
At issue in this appeal was whether nonunion Plaintiffs, Electrical Contractors, Inc. (ECI) and six of its employees had standing to challenge prebid specifications requiring the successful bidder on two state financed construction projects to perform all project work with union labor under the terms of a project labor agreement. The trial court dismissed Plaintiffs' complaint for lack of standing. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's dismissal of the claims of ECI against the city and other nonstate defendants, and affirmed the court's dismissal of ECI's claims against several state defendants, holding (1) the individual plaintiffs did not have standing to bring their claims; (2) ECI had standing to bring its claims against the nonstate defendants, as it had a colorable claim of injury; (3) ECI had standing to bring its claim against the city for violation of the Connecticut Antitrust Act; (4) Plaintiffs' claims were not preempted by federal labor law; and (5) Plaintiffs failed to allege facts that reasonably supported their claims against the state defendants, and therefore, the trial court's judgment could be affirmed on the alternative ground that Plaintiffs' claims against the state defendants were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. View "Elec. Contractors, Inc. v. Dep't of Educ." on Justia Law