Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Civil Procedure
Gershon v. Back
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that Plaintiff's motion to open and set aside a final judgment of divorce should have been denied instead of dismissed, holding that New York's plenary action rule "was so interwoven with Plaintiff's cause of action as to be deemed substantive."During their divorce trial, the parties in this case settled their dispute by entering into a separation agreement that incorporated New York's plenary action rule. After she moved to Connecticut with her new husband, Plaintiff filed a motion to open and set aside the divorce judgment, claiming fraud on the part of Defendant. The trial court applied New York's plenary action rule and dismissed the motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The appellate court held (1) under New York substantive law, Plaintiff was required to bring a plenary action; but (2) the trial court had jurisdiction to consider the motion to open, and therefore, the motion should have been denied rather than dismissed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the plenary action rule was substantive, and therefore, the appellate court correctly determined that Plaintiff's motion to open and vacate the divorce judgment should have been denied. View "Gershon v. Back" on Justia Law
Adams v. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss the product liability claim against it, holding that the trial court did not err in concluding that personal jurisdiction was not authorized under Connecticut's applicable long-arm statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 33-929(f).Section 33-929(f) subjects foreign corporations to suit brought by a resident of the state on a cause of action "arising out of" the corporation's distribution of goods with the reasonable expectation that the goods are intended to be used, and are so used, in Connecticut. At issue was whether Defendant's contacts with Connecticut were sufficiently "related to" the litigation to satisfy Connecticut's long-arm statute and specific personal jurisdiction under the due process clause. The trial court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss, concluding that the "arise out of or relate to" requirement was not met in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to establish that their claim against Defendant arose from or related to Defendant's forum contacts. View "Adams v. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co." on Justia Law
North Sails Group, LLC v. Boards & More GmbH
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing for lack of personal jurisdiction this complaint against Defendants, Board and More GmbH (B&M) and Emeram Capital Partners GmbH (Emeram), holding that Plaintiff, North Sales Group, LLC, failed to demonstrate that Defendants had sufficient minimum contacts with Connecticut.B&M was a limited liability company chartered under the laws of Austria, with its principal place of business in Austria. Emeram was a private equity investment limited liability company, with its principal place of business in Germany. Neither company had maintained an agent for service of process in Connecticut, nor did the companies maintain offices or transact business in Connecticut. At issue on appeal was whether Plaintiff advanced sufficient allegations and evidence to establish minimum contacts with Defendants. The Supreme Court held that Plaintiff did not and that the trial court correctly dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. View "North Sails Group, LLC v. Boards & More GmbH" on Justia Law
Thornton v. Jacobs
The Supreme Court dismissed this certified appeal as moot and vacated the judgment of the appellate court dismissing Defendant's appeal, holding that the appeal was moot and that vacatur was appropriate.This appeal concerned a subpoena that Plaintiffs served on Defendant seeking to depose her. Defendant filed a motion to quash, which the trial court denied. After Defendant appealed, Plaintiffs moved for permission to file an untimely motion to dismiss, arguing that the appeal was frivolous. The appellate court granted Plaintiffs' motion and dismissed the appeal. After the Supreme Court granted certification, Plaintiffs withdrew the subpoena. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiffs' withdrawal of the subpoena rendered his appeal moot; and (2) under the circumstances, vacatur of the appellate court's judgment, which was adverse to Defendant, was appropriate. View "Thornton v. Jacobs" on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Procedure
Georges v. OB-GYN Services, P.C.
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
Johnson v. Preleski
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's dismissal of Petitioner's petition for a new trial brought against Respondent, the state's attorney, as time barred, holding that the Appellate Court improperly disregarded the remedial purpose of Conn. Stat. Ann. 52-593a in concluding that the successful fax transmission of process to the state marshal is not personal delivery as contemplated by the savings statute.Petitioner was convicted of murder and sentenced to forty-five years imprisonment. Petitioner subsequently sought to file a petition for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. Respondent claimed that the petition as time barred because Petitioner did not serve process on him until one day after the expiration of the three-year limitation period. The trial court agreed, determining that there was no proof of timely delivery of process to the state marshal for purposes of section 52-593a because the state marshal did not endorse the date of delivery, and Petitioner failed to provide support for the proposition that a fax constituted personal delivery as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Petitioner satisfied the personal delivery requirement via successfully faxing process to the state marshal for service. View "Johnson v. Preleski" on Justia Law
Lazar v. Ganim
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court declining to order a new 2019 Democratic primary election for municipal office in the city of Bridgeport pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-329a(b), holding that the trial court did not err in determining that Plaintiffs lacked standing to invoke section 9-329a(a)(1) and that Plaintiffs failed to establish that they were entitled to an order directing a new primary election under section 9-329a(a)(2).Plaintiffs, registered Democrats residing in the city, brought this action alleging that improprieties leading up to the primary election rendered the result so unreliable that it must be set aside. The trial court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss the action for lack of aggrievement with respect to Plaintiff's claim brought pursuant to section 9-329a(a)(1) but denied the motion with respect to the claims brought pursuant to section 9-329a(1)(2). After a trial, the court rendered judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring a claim under section 9-329a(a)(1) because they were not aggrieved; and (2) Plaintiffs failed to establish that they were entitled to an order directing a new special primary election. View "Lazar v. Ganim" on Justia Law
Riley v. Travelers Home & Marine Insurance Co.
In this breach of contract and negligent infliction of emotional distress action the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's judgment affirming the trial court's judgment denying Defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict for Plaintiff.This action stemmed from Defendant's handling of Plaintiff's homeowner's insurance claim. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff on both counts. Defendant filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, renewing its motion for a directed verdict, arguing that the verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence presented during Plaintiff's case-in-chief. The trial court denied the motion. On appeal, Defendant contended that the so-called waiver rule - which provides that a defendant waives the right to appeal the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion for directed verdict at the close of the plaintiff's case by opting to introduce evidence in its own behalf - is inapplicable to civil cases in which a trial court reserves decision on a motion for directed verdict. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a court reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a jury's verdict must consider all of the evidence considered by the jury returning the verdict, not just the evidence presented in the plaintiff's case-in-chief. View "Riley v. Travelers Home & Marine Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Metcalf v. Fitzgerald
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting motions to dismiss Plaintiff's state law claims for vexatious litigation and unfair and deceptive business acts or practices during Plaintiff's underlying bankruptcy proceeding, holding that the trial court properly dismissed the claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the claims were preempted by federal bankruptcy law.Plaintiff, who had previously filed a bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court, brought this action asserting claims of vexatious litigation and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq. The trial court dismissed the claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Congress implicitly preempted state law actions by occupying the field of bankruptcy law and that, in the field of law, the federal interest is so dominant that federal law is assumed to preclude enforcement of state laws on the subject. View "Metcalf v. Fitzgerald" on Justia Law
Reclaimant Corp. v. Deutsch
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court rendering summary judgment in favor of Defendants after concluding that Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims were governed by Delaware law and were thus time-barred, holding that Connecticut law, rather than Delaware law, controlled the timeliness of Plaintiff's claims.Plaintiff brought unjust enrichment claims against Defendants seeking recovery for alleged overpayments issued to Defendants by Plaintiff's putative predecessor in interest pursuant to a limited partnership agreement. The trial court concluded that Plaintiff's claims were governed by Delaware law and were therefore time-barred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Delaware law governed the substantive rights and liabilities of the parties arising out of the limited partnership agreement, but Connecticut law governed matters of judicial administration and procedure; and (2) because Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims had a common-law origin, the limitation period properly was characterized as procedural, and therefore, Connecticut law governed the timeliness of Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims. View "Reclaimant Corp. v. Deutsch" on Justia Law