Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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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, individually and as the administrator of the estate of his son, Jonathan Radzik, sued Francisco Sylvester, a board certified specialist in pediatrics, and related healthcare entities (collectively, Defendants), alleging that Sylvester had negligently prescribed Remicade for Jonathan, which led to Jonathan’s death. At issue here was the trial court’s grant of Plaintiff’s motion to compel electronic discovery of the hard drives of certain computers used by Sylvester. Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal of the discovery order. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal for lack of a final judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the discovery order did not constitute a final judgment. View "Radzick v. Conn. Children's Med. Ctr." on Justia Law

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The decedent in this case was killed by her former boyfriend, Mark Tannenbaum, shortly after Tannenbaum was released from police custody. Plaintiff, the adminstratrix of the decedent’s estate, filed this action against the town of Watertown and three police officers. Five years later, Plaintiff withdrew her initial action and commenced the present action against the town and John Carroll, alleging that Carroll, the ranking officer at the time of Tannenbaum’s release from police custody, released him without proper conditions and restrictions. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, concluding that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The Appellate Court affirmed. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the Appellate Court erred in concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-593 did not save this case from the statute of limitations where she failed to name Carroll as a defendant in her original action and, therefore, would have failed to obtain a judgment in that action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Carroll’s absence from the original action did not entitle Plaintiff to use section 52-593 to save this case. View "Finkle v. Carroll" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed an amended revised complaint alleging that he suffered personal injury and damages that were caused by the negligence and carelessness of Defendant, the Town of Orange. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claim because Plaintiff failed to comply with the notice requirement of the municipal highway defect statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 13a-149. The trial court agreed with Defendant and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff appealed, claiming that because he did not assert his claim under section 13a-149, the trial court should not have found that Defendant could raise its jurisdiction argument regarding section 13a-149 in a motion to dismiss. The Appellate Court reversed on the ground that the facts in the record did not support a determination that Plaintiff’s claim fell within the ambit of section 13a-149. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because a factual dispute regarding jurisdiction remained unresolved at this stage of the proceedings, the Appellate Court properly reversed the trial court’s decision to dismiss Plaintiff’s action. View "Cuozzo v. Orange" on Justia Law

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When Sandy Niro commenced this action for dissolution of her marriage to Peter Niro, she served a subpoena duces tecum on Peter’s brother, Anthony Nero, and Anthony’s wife, Nanette Niro (together, Plaintiffs), seeking certain financial records. The trial court denied Plaintiffs’ motions to quash the subpoenas and ordered them to produce the records. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a writ of error with the Supreme Court challenging the trial court’s order of production. The Supreme Court dismissed the writ of error, holding that the trial court’s order was not an appealable final judgment under the test established in State v. Curcio, and therefore, the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the writ of error. View "Niro v. Niro" on Justia Law