Articles Posted in Commercial Law

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Plaintiff-school opened a bank account for its operating fund with Defendant-bank. One of Plaintiff’s employees later opened a bank account with Defendant that Plaintiff had not authorized and deposited into that account several hundred checks originating from, or intended to be deposited into, Plaintiff’s bank account with Defendant. Over the course of approximately four years, the employee deposited $832,776 into this bank account and withdrew funds just short of that amount. Defendant refused Plaintiff’s demand to return the funds that the employee had funneled through this account to himself. Thereafter, Plaintiff commenced this action, alleging breach of contract, violations of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), negligence, and common law conversion. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff on each of the counts and awarded $832,776 in total compensatory damages. The Supreme Court affirmed in all respects with the exception of the damages award, holding that some of Plaintiff’s claims under the UCC were time barred and that the trial court did not otherwise err in its judgment. Remanded with direction to reduce the award by $5,156 and to proportionately reduce prejudgment interest, . View "Saint Bernard Sch. of Montville, Inc. v. Bank of Am. " on Justia Law

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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

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Plaintiff in this case was a physician who was granted clinical privileges as a member of Defendant hospital's medical staff beginning in 1974. The hospital declined to renew Plaintiff's privileges for 1984. In response to the nonrenewal of privileges, Plaintiff brought an action against the hospital seeking damages and injunctive relief for his loss of gross income. The trial court rendered judgment awarding Plaintiff nominal damages only. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's denial of injunctive relief but reversed the part of the judgment awarding nominal damages, concluding that the trial court should have deemed Plaintiff a lost volume seller and awarded him damages equal to his lost profits in 1984 only. The Supreme Court determined that the appellate court had incorrectly concluded that Plaintiff was a lost volume seller and incorrectly determined that Plaintiff was entitled to damages for lost profits in 1984 only. On remand, the trial court found that Plaintiff was a lost volume seller and awarded him damages in the amount of $258,610. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in its judgment. View "Gianetti v. Norwalk Hosp. " on Justia Law

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This case concerned the distribution of surplus proceeds from a foreclosure sale of property encumbered by multiple successive mortgages obtained through fraud. Defendant Stewart Title Guaranty Company appealed from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of Defendant First American Title Insurance Company and ordering that the remaining proceeds of a foreclosure sale be distributed to First American. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court properly granted First American's motion to intervene in the action, (2) the trial court applied a proper standard of review in granting relief pursuant to First American's motion to reargue the trial court's decision determining the priorities of the parties; and (3) the trial court's conclusion that First American was entitled to receive all of the remaining funds from the foreclosure sale could be upheld on the alternate ground that, because First American's mortgage was recorded prior in time to Stewart Title's mortgage, it was entitled to all of the surplus proceeds on deposit pursuant to the first in time, first in right rule. View "Hudson Valley Bank v. Kissel" on Justia Law

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Defendant Anna Miller executed a promissory note to a finance company and conveyed by way of a mortgage her interest in real property to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems. Defendant's mortgage was thereafter assigned to Plaintiff, RMS Residential Properties (RMS), which became the holder of the note prior to the commencement of this foreclosure action. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff. On appeal, Defendant contended that RMS lacked standing to commence the foreclosure action because there was no statutory authority that conferred standing on a mere holder of a note to foreclose a mortgage. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Conn. Gen. Stat. 49-17 raises a rebuttable presumption that a holder of a note is the owner of the debt, the statute may confer standing to foreclose a mortgage on a holder of a note. View "RMS Residential Properties, LLC v. Miller" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff HVC Inc. was a trustee of the Honda Lease Trust. During the audit period at issue, several car dealerships entered into thousands of leases with customers (lessees) pursuant to lease plan agreements between the dealerships, the trust, and the servicer of the trust. Under the leases, the lessees were responsible for submitting the vehicle registration renewal application and renewal fees to the department of motor vehicles on behalf of the trust. Upon receipt of the renewal application and fee, the department sent the vehicle registration card to the trust, and the trust forwarded the vehicle registration card to the appropriate lessee. After conducting a sales and use tax audit for the audit period from April 1, 2001 through October 31, 2004, Defendant Pamela Law, the then commissioner of revenue services, issued a deficiency assessment against Plaintiff, concluding that the renewal fees constituted taxable gross receipts of the trust and, therefore, were subject to the sales tax. The trial court rendered summary judgment partially in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the renewal fees paid by the lessess qualified as Plaintiff's gross receipts subject to sales tax under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-408(1). View "HVT, Inc. v. Law" on Justia Law

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An employee of Plaintiff, the town of Southbury, was injured in a car accident with Defendants, Patricia and Joseph Gonyea, during the course of employment. Employee applied for and received workers' compensation benefits from Plaintiff. Employee also made a claim against Defendants, which was settled for the Defendants' policy insurance limit. After Plaintiff perfected its statutory lien rights, Employee forwarded to Plaintiff the net proceeds he received from the settlement. Thereafter, Plaintiff commenced the present action to recover past and future works' compensation benefits it had paid, or would become obligated to pay, as a result of Employee's injuries. Defendants moved for summary judgment, contending that Plaintiff had assented to the settlement between Employee and Defendants and, thus, was barred from pursuing this action. The trial court granted Defendants' motion, concluding Plaintiff had assented to the settlement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Plaintiff assented to the settlement and voluntarily relinquished its rights to recover an outstanding balance through subsequent litigation. View "Town of Southbury v. Gonyea" on Justia Law