Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court held that Defendant-employer was collaterally estopped from challenging an employee’s eligibility for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act (state act), Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-275 et seq., because of an earlier decision by a United States Department of Labor administrative law judge (ALJ) awarding benefits to the employee under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Compensation Review Board (Board) reversing the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner dismissing the claims for benefits under the state act filed by Plaintiff, the executor of the decedent’s estate and the decedent’s widow. The Court held that the Board properly determined that the employer in this case was collaterally estopped from relitigating the issue of causation under the state act because the record of the Longshore Act proceedings indicated that the ALJ employed the substantial factor standard that governed the proceedings under the state act. View "Filosi v. Electric Boat Corp." on Justia Law

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At issue was the degree to which Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-470 constrains the discretion of the habeas court as to when it may act on the Commissioner of Correction’s motion for an order to show good cause why a habeas petition should be permitted to proceed when a petitioner has delayed filing the petition. In this case, the Commissioner filed a motion requesting the habeas court to order Petitioner to show cause why his untimely filed petition should be permitted to proceed. The court interpreted section 52-470 to deprive it of discretion to act on the motion prior to the close of all proceedings and thus took no action on the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 52-470(e) applied in this case and did not limit the discretion of the habeas court as to when it may act on a motion for an order to show cause why an untimely petition should be permitted to proceed; and (2) therefore, the habeas court erred in determining that it lacked discretion to act on the Commissioner’s order to show cause because the pleadings were not yet closed. View "Kelsey v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court granting the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s administrative appeal from the Commission’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss an employment discrimination complaint brought by a former female employee, holding that the Commission’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss was not an immediately appealable order. A former female employee of Plaintiff, a religious school, filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that Plaintiff had wrongfully terminated her employment on the basis of her sex, marital status, and pregnancy. Plaintiff moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing it was immune from employment discrimination actions under the ministerial exception to employment discrimination laws. The Commission denied Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff appealed. The trial court granted the Commission’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly determined that Plaintiff had failed to make a colorable claim of immunity under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-571b(d) and, therefore, the Commission’s denial of Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss the employment discrimination complaint was not an immediately appealable order. View "Trinity Christian School v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court determining that Plaintiff, Walgreen Eastern Company, Inc., had established aggrievement under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-117a by showing that the valuation of Plaintiff’s property by Defendant, the Town of West Hartford, was excessive. The Court further affirmed the trial court’s judgment determining the true and actual value of the subject property and concluding that the Town’s valuation of the subject property was not manifestly excessive under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-119. After the Board of Assessment Appeals (Board) upheld the town assessor’s valuation, Plaintiff appealed to the superior court, which (1) found Plaintiff satisfied its burden of proving aggrievement; and (2) rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its section 12-117a count and in favor of the Town on Plaintiff’s section 12-119 count. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the relief awarded by the trial court was sufficient because the court properly determined the true and actual value of Plaintiff’s property; and (2) the trial court properly determined that Plaintiff did not meet its burden to establish a claim under section 12-119. View "Walgreen Eastern Co. v. Town of West Hartford" on Justia Law

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Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51bb permitted Plaintiff to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission alleging that the City of New Haven had violated Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-290a by wrongfully terminating his employment in retaliation for bringing a workers’ compensation claim, notwithstanding that a related issue had previously been decided by the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration in an arbitration proceeding brought pursuant to Plaintiff’s collective bargaining agreement. The Compensation Review Board determined that, under section 31-51bb, Plaintiff’s claim brought before the Commission pursuant to section 31-290a was not barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 31-51bb permitted Plaintiff to file a claim with the Commission pursuant to section 31-290a under the circumstances of this case. View "Williams v. City of New Haven" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting an application by five individual electors of the Town of Fairfield (collectively, Plaintiffs) for a writ of mandamus compelling a special election for a vacant seat on the Board of Selectmen. On appeal, the Town and its Board (collectively, Defendants) argued that the trial court improperly issued the writ of mandamus. Specifically, Defendants argued that article VI, 6.3(B) of the Fairfield Town Charter, which does not provide for a special election when the Board has acted to fill a vacancy within thirty days, was controlling over Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-222, which provides for the possibility of a petition for a special election to fill a vacancy on the Board even after the Board has acted. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the charter provision controlled the method by which to fill the vacancy on the Board; and (2) because the Board timely designated a new selectman, the provision of the charter directing resort to Conn. Gen. Stat. chapter 146, which could have required a special election pursuant to section 9-222, was not triggered. View "Cook-Littman v. Board of Selectmen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court rendering judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its claim of unjust enrichment. On appeal, Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim was barred by collateral estoppel, that Plaintiff’s recovery was precluded by law and the terms of an agreement between the parties, the trial court’s jury instructions were improper, and the trial court erred in excluding certain evidence. In affirming, the Court held that many of Defendant’s arguments were unpreserved, inadequately briefed, or both, and that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his assignments of error. View "MacDermid, Inc. v. Leonetti" on Justia Law

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At issue was the relationship between Conn. Gen. Stat. 45a-655(b) and (d) in determining whether a spousal support order previously rendered by the probate court was binding on the Commission of Social Services when calculating the allowance that may be diverted to the support of the community spouse of a Medicaid eligible institutionalized person pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5. The Commissioner decided to set a community spouse allowance for Paul Valliere in the amount of $0 with respect to the Medicaid benefit that paid for the long-term residential care of his wife, Majorie Valliere. The trial court sustained the administrative appeal brought by Plaintiffs, Paul and Ellen Shea, conservatrix and executrix of Majorie’s estate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the probate court did not exceed its authority under section 45a-655 by ordering community spouse support in an amount that exceeded that which the Department of Social Services could order pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5. View "Valliere v. Commissioner of Social Services" on Justia Law

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At issue was the relationship between Conn. Gen. Stat. 45a-655(b) and (d) in determining whether a spousal support order previously rendered by the probate court was binding on the Commission of Social Services when calculating the allowance that may be diverted to the support of the community spouse of a Medicaid eligible institutionalized person pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5. The Commissioner decided to set a community spouse allowance for Paul Valliere in the amount of $0 with respect to the Medicaid benefit that paid for the long-term residential care of his wife, Majorie Valliere. The trial court sustained the administrative appeal brought by Plaintiffs, Paul and Ellen Shea, conservatrix and executrix of Majorie’s estate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the probate court did not exceed its authority under section 45a-655 by ordering community spouse support in an amount that exceeded that which the Department of Social Services could order pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5. View "Valliere v. Commissioner of Social Services" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether individuals engaged in door-to-door sales of vacuums provided by Plaintiff should be classified as independent contractors or as Plaintiff’s employees for purposes of the Unemployment Compensation Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-222. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court concluding that the individuals were Plaintiff’s employees on the ground that Plaintiff failed to establish that the individuals were “customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed” for Plaintiff within the meaning of part C of the ABC test, codified at Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-222(a)(1)(B)(ii)(I)(II) and (III). Therefore, the trial court properly dismissed Plaintiff’s appeals from administrative decisions that Defendants were properly designated as Plaintiff’s employees and that Plaintiff was liable for contributions based on their wages. View "Kirby of Norwich v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act" on Justia Law