Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The thirty-day deadline provided by Practice Book 11-21, which governs motions for attorney’s fees, is directory rather than mandatory, thus affording a trial court discretion to entertain untimely motions. In this contract and promissory estoppel action, the trial court rendered judgment for Plaintiff. The Appellate Court reversed and remanded to the trial court with direction to render judgment in favor of Defendant. Defendant filed a motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-150bb. The trial court denied the motion on the basis that the motion was not timely. The Appellate Court reversed, determining that the thirty day deadline set forth in Practice Book 11-21 is directory. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Practice Book 11-21 is directory and therefore affords the trial court discretion to entertain untimely motions for attorney’s fees in appropriate cases; and (2) the Appellate Court properly remanded the case for a hearing on Defendant’s motion. View "Meadowbrook Center, Inc. v. Buchman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court adopted the decision of the trial court as a statement of the facts and the applicable law on the issues raised in this case regarding whether Plaintiff’s claim was justiciable and not rendered moot by subsequent legislation or barred by the doctrine of laches. Plaintiff, the town of Glastonbury, brought this action seeking a determination that, prior to 2014, the Metropolitan District Commission (Defendant), a quasi-municipal corporation that provides potable water to eight member and five nonmember towns, unlawfully imposed surcharges on it and other nonmember towns. While the action was pending, the legislature enacted No. 14-21 of the 2014 Special Acts (S.A. 14-21), which authorized Defendant to impose a surcharge on nonmember towns under certain conditions. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that S.A. 14-21 was retroactive and rendered Plaintiff’s claim moot. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that the special act was not retroactive and that the surcharges imposed prior to the passage of the special act were unlawful. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "Glastonbury v. Metropolitan District Commission" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff’s action against Defendants in their individual capacities was properly dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff, an inmate, brought this action against defendant state employees in their official and invidious capacities, alleging that they had violated his constitutional rights because they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims against Defendants in their individual capacities because Plaintiff failed properly to serve Defendants in their individual capacities pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-57(a). The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Appellate Court fully considered and properly resolved the issue against Plaintiff. View "Harnage v. Lightner" on Justia Law

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Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-593a, a remedial savings statute that operates to render an action timely commenced so long as process is delivered to a marshal prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations and served within thirty days, does not preclude a plaintiff from proving timely delivery of process to the marshal by means other than the statutorily prescribed method. The Appellate Court concluded that the endorsement requirement of section 52-593a(b) is directory rather than mandatory. The Supreme Court agreed. An analysis of prior cases and the legislative history of section 52-593a leads to the conclusion that the endorsement requirement is directive. In this case, there existed a genuine issue of material fact s to whether timely delivery was made, and therefore, the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment in the defendants’ favor. View "Doe v. Town of West Hartford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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At issue in this case was whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the trial court abused its discretion when it rendered a judgment of nonsuit against Plaintiffs for their counsel’s conduct in relation to counsel’s failure to comply with a court order. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court insofar as the court reversed the judgment of nonsuit but directed the Appellate Court to remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings to consider a sanction proportionate to the facts supported by the record, holding (1) certain factual findings were not supported by the record; and (2) it could not be determined as a matter of law whether the trial court would have imposed the same sanction in the absence of these facts. View "Ridgaway v. Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Second Circuit sought the Connecticut Supreme Court's advice as to whether a Connecticut state marshal was entitled to the statutory fee of 15 percent on the amount of the execution for the levy of an execution, when the money is actually collected and paid over, or the debt is secured by the officer. In this case, the state court held that because the marshal levied the execution, he was entitled to a 15 percent fee under the terms of General Statutes 52-261 (a) (F). The state court also held that it did not matter that the writ was ignored and that the monies that were the subject of the writ were procured only after the judgment creditor, not the marshal, pursued further enforcement proceedings in the courts. View "Corsair Special Situations Fund, LP v. Engineered Framing Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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