Articles Posted in Contracts

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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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At issue was what sort of “specific agreement” is required under DiLullo v. Joseph, 792 A.2d 819 (Conn. 2002), to overcome DiLullo’s presumption that a landlord’s insurer has no right of subrogation to bring an action against a tenant for damage the tenant caused to the rented property. The lower courts in this case concluded that it was sufficient for the lease to allocate to the tenant responsibility for damage caused by the tenant and to require the tenant to obtain insurance even without a specific agreement authorizing subrogation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an express agreement that the tenant will bear responsibility for his or her negligence and needs to obtain his or her own insurance to cover that responsibility is the kind of “specific agreement” that will overcome DiLullo’s presumption against subrogation; and (2) the parties in this case made a specific agreement sufficient to overcome the application of DiLullo’s presumption against subrogation, and allowing subrogation was fair and consistent with the doctrine of equitable subrogation. View "Amica Mutual Insurance Co. v Muldowney" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s complaint and Defendant’s counterclaim for damages and declaratory judgment. This case stemmed from a purchase agreement entered into by the parties in which Plaintiff was to provide various equipment and services to Defendant for a telecommunications switch room. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court incorrectly concluded that Plaintiff breached the purchase agreement by filing a petition for bankruptcy protection under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code; and (2) the trial court erred in determining that Defendant was within its rights to terminate the purchase agreement upon Plaintiff’s initiation of bankruptcy proceedings. View "CCT Communications, Inc. v. Zone Telecom, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy, Contracts

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant on both Plaintiff’s complaint seeking recovery on six promissory notes and on Defendant’s counterclaim alleging a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). On appeal, Plaintiff challenged only the scope of the Appellate Court’s remand order, arguing that the court erred in ordering a new trial rather than restricting the remand proceedings to a hearing in damages. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court in part, holding that a new trial was unnecessary because Defendant lacked standing to pursue a claim alleging a violation of CUTPA. View "Channing Real Estate, LLC v. Gates" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with larceny in the third degree as an accessory and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree. Defendant moved to dismiss the charges on the basis of the State’s prior entry of a nolle prosequi on the same charges. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the entry of a nolle on those charges and nolles on charges in three other cases was part of an agreement between the State and Defendant contemplating a global disposition supported by consideration. Therefore, the appellate court concluded that Defendant’s prosecution in the present proceeding was barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the agreement was ambiguous as to the parties’ intent and therefore must be construed in Defendant’s favor as a global disposition. View "State v. Kallberg" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Criminal Law

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Plaintiff were a class of state employees and retirees who were enrolled in an Anthem Insurance group health insurance plan at the time of the 2001 demutualization of Anthem Insurance Companies. Plaintiffs brought suit against former Governor John Rowland, the State, Anthem Insurance, and other insurance company defendants alleging that their participation in the plan entitled them to membership in Anthem Insurance and a share of the demutualization proceeds. Plaintiffs claimed that Anthem Insurance and the other insurance company defendants breached their contractual obligations by not paying Plaintiffs for their membership interests and instead distributing their share of the proceeds to the State. The Supreme Court concluded that Plaintiffs’ claims against Rowland and the State were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity or otherwise should have been dismissed. After a trial, the trial court rendered judgment for the remaining defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly concluded that the relevant contract provisions were ambiguous as to Plaintiffs’ eligibility for membership in Anthem Insurance and their entitlement to a share of the demutualization proceeds and properly considered extrinsic evidence to determine their meaning. View "Gold v. Rowland" on Justia Law

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Contractor and Homeowner entered into an agreement whereby Contractor agreed to furnish materials and supply labor in connection with renovations to Homeowner’s residence. After the renovation project was largely complete, the parties began to dispute the amounts that Homeowner owed Contractor. Contractor then brought this action claiming, inter alia, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Homeowner raised the special defense that Contractor’s claims were barred because the agreement did not comply with the Home Improvement Act. In response, Contractor argued that Homeowner was precluded from relying on the Act because his refusal to pay Contractor was in bad faith. The trial court agreed with Contractor and rendered judgment for Contractor. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Homeowner did not act in bad faith, and therefore, the trial court improperly found that Homeowner was barred from invoking the protection of the Act. Remanded with direction to render judgment for Homeowner. View "Burns v. Adler" on Justia Law

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Defendant was an attorney who represented clients in contingency fee matters that originated while he was a member of a two-person law firm with Plaintiff. After the dissolution of that firm, Defendant continued to represent those clients, and those fees were not paid until after the dissolution. Plaintiff brought this action claiming that Defendant’s failure to pay him those fees constituted, inter alia, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The trial court concluded that Plaintiff was entitled to recover on his claim of unjust enrichment with respect to the contingency fee cases and found that Defendant owed Plaintiff $116,298.89. Defendant appealed, arguing that the award violated the fee splitting provisions of Rule 1.5(e) of the Rules of Professional Conduct because the clients had not consented to the fee sharing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly awarded Plaintiff a portion of the contingency fees that Defendant collected subsequent to the firm’s dissolution. View "Horner v. Bagnell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Legal Ethics

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Plaintiff entered into a purchase agreement providing that Plaintiff was to provide various telecommunications equipment, software, and services to Defendant for a switch room located in Los Angeles. Defendant later terminated the purchase agreement. Plaintiff filed a complaint claiming breach of contract for Defendant’s failure to pay the amounts owed and account stated. Defendant counterclaimed for, inter alia, breach of contract for Plaintiff’s failure to provide services under the purchase agreement. The trial court entered judgment for Defendant on the complaint and the breach of contract count of the counterclaim. The court later articulated that Plaintiff had breached the purchase agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) did not err in concluding that Plaintiff breached the purchase agreement; (2) did not err in finding that Plaintiff failed to prove its breach of contract claim; and (3) properly awarded damages, cost and attorney’s fees in light of a limitation of liability clause in the purchase agreement. View "CCT Communications, Inc. v. Zone Telecom, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Defendant Gary Proctor set up an account of electric services for a new business. After Defendant contacted Plaintiff, Connecticut Light and Power Company, Plaintiff provided electric service to the business under an account in Defendant’s name until it disconnected service for non-payment. Plaintiff then brought an action against Defendant for breach of an implied contract and unjust enrichment seeking $14,620 in outstanding bills. The trial court rendered judgment for Plaintiff on the breach of an implied contract count, finding that Defendant manifested assent to enter into an implied in fact contract with Plaintiff under which Defendant would be responsible for payment for the provision of electric services to the company. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding that Defendant entered into an implied in fact contract with Plaintiff. View "Connecticut Light & Power Co. v. Proctor" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts