Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff's administrative appeal from the decision of the Connecticut Siting Council approving the application of NTE Connecticut, LLC (NTE) seeking a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for the construction of an electric generating facility in the town of Killingly, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff, a nonprofit organization, appealed the council's decision to the trial court, arguing that the council improperly refused to consider the environmental impact of installing a gas pipeline to its proposed facility when weighing the public benefit of the facility against its probable environmental impact. The trial court dismissed the appeal, concluding that the council was not required to consider the impact of the gas pipeline. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly determined that the council’s refusal to consider the potential environmental impact of the gas pipeline during the proceedings on NTE’s application for a certificate was not arbitrary or capricious. View "Not Another Power Plant v. Connecticut Siting Council" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court overruled Savage v. St. Aeden’s Church, 189 A. 599 (Conn. 1937), insofar as it concluded that an employee is entitled to compensation as a matter of law when, during the course of the employee's employment, he or she is injured due to an idiopathic fall onto a level floor.The Appellate Court reversed the decision of the Compensation Review Board (Board) affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Second District (Commissioner) denying Plaintiff's application for benefits filed after she suffered a syncopal episode at her workplace, which caused her to fall backward and strike her head on the ground, concluding that, under Savage, Plaintiff's injury was compensable as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed after overruling the portion of Savage at issue, holding that the risk or condition must be "peculiar to the employment" for the injury to be compensable. View "Clements v. Aramark Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court affirming the judgments of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff's appeals challenging various text amendments to the Hartford Zoning Regulations and zoning map changes made by the City of Hartford's Planning and Zoning Commission, holding that the appellate court erred.Plaintiff applied for a special permit to construct a restaurant on property that it owned in the City. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed four separate appeals challenging the City's zoning map changes which, if properly adopted, would effectively preclude Plaintiff from obtaining the special permit. The trial court dismissed the appeal on the ground that Plaintiff had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. The appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the appellate court erred in determining that the City's zoning administrator had the authority to void Plaintiff's application for a special permit; and (2) Plaintiff could not have appealed the zoning administrator's action to the zoning board of appeals because it was not a legal decision for purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-6. View "Farmington-Girard, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission of City of Hartford" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiffs' administrative appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction from the adverse decision of the State Elections Enforcement Commission determining that Plaintiffs violated certain state election laws and regulations, holding that the administrative appeal was timely filed.In its decision, the Commission found that Plaintiffs, who had received funding for their campaigns through the Citizens' Election Program, had violated laws and regulations related to the Program and imposed civil fines for those violations. Plaintiffs appealed. The superior court dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was untimely filed under Conn. Gen. Stat. 4-183(c)(2). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the timeliness of Plaintiffs' appeal was governed by the limitation period of Conn. Gen. Stat. 4-183(c)(3); and (2) Plaintiffs' appeal was timely filed under section 4-183(c)(3). View "Markley v. State Elections Enforcement Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court reversing the judgment of the trial court and concluding that Plaintiffs, the city of Meriden and the Meriden City Council, did not violate the open meeting requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-200 et seq., holding that there was no error.At issue on appeal was whether the appellate court correctly determined that the phrase a "hearing or other proceeding of a public agency" contained in section 1-200(2) refers to a process of adjudication that fell outside the scope of the activities conducting during the gathering at issue. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the subject gathering did not constitute a "hearing or other proceeding of a public agency" and therefore a "meeting"; and (2) consequently, the gathering was not subject to the Act's open meeting requirements. View "Meriden v. Freedom of Information Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-55 was not repealed by a sequence of contradictory public acts relating to that statute, holding that section 14-55 has not been repealed.Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal challenging the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Stamford to grant a certificate of approval of the location for Defendants' used car dealership. The trial court denied the administrative appeal, but the appellate court reversed. At issue was whether the suitability analysis mandated by section 14-55 was still required in order to obtain a certificate of approval for the location of a used car dealership, despite subsequent revisions of the General Statutes listing that provision as having been repealed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the appellate court erred in concluding that section 14-55 had been repealed. View "One Elmcroft Stamford, LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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In this action for a temporary injunction in connection with the intake and discharge of water from the Long Island Sound and nearby bodies of water by Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., the owner and operator of a nuclear power station, the Supreme Court ultimately affirmed the judgments in favor of Defendants, holding that the trial court did not err.This case was before the Supreme Court for the third time. Plaintiff brought this action under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act of 1971 (CEPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 22a-14 et seq., against Dominion and the Department of Environmental Protection, challenging the Department's decision to issue a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination system permit to Dominion to authorize the intake and discharge of water by the plant, arguing that the permit renewal proceeding was inadequate. On remand for the second time from the Supreme Court, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the administrative proceeding was not inadequate; and (2) Plaintiff's remaining claims on appeal were inadequately briefed. View "Burton v. Department of Environmental Protection" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-55 was not repealed by a sequence of public acts relating to that statute passed by the legislature in 2003, holding that section 14-55 has been repealed, and therefore, the suitability analysis mandated by the statute is no longer required to obtain a certificate of approval of the location for a used car dealership.The Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Stamford granted a certificate of approval of the location for a used car dealership run by Defendants. Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal challenging the judgment, arguing that the board had failed to conduct the suitability analysis mandated by section 14-55. The trial court denied the appeal, concluding that the board was required to consider the suitability factors set forth in 14-55 and that the board had given due consideration to the suitability of Defendants' proposed use. The appellate court reversed, deciding that section 14-55 was not repealed in 2003 but that the board issued no findings as to the suitability factors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 14-55 has been repealed. View "One Elmcroft Stamford, LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Compensation Review Board affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Commission awarding Plaintiff permanent partial disability benefits of twenty-three percent based on the function of his transplanted heart, holding that the Board correctly treated the transplanted heart as an organ rather than a prosthetic device.At issue was whether Plaintiff, who underwent a heart transplant, was entitled to a specific indemnity award for permanent partial disability under the Workers' Compensation Act for the total loss of Plaintiff's native heart or whether the award should be based, instead, on the rated function of Plaintiff's transplanted heart. Plaintiff was awarded benefits based on the function of his transplanted heart. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that his transplanted heart was akin to a prosthetic device, and therefore, Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-308(b) required compensation for the 100 percent loss of his native heart. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the transplant meant that Plaintiff had not suffered a complete loss of his heart within the meaning of section 31-308(b). View "Vitti v. Milford" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the Compensation Review Board finding that the City of Bridgeport was liable for the payment of Plaintiff's workers compensation benefits as his principal employer, holding that the City was in the "trade or business" of maintaining and repairing municipal buildings and facilities.The City hired Contractor do repair work on the roof of the City's transfer facility, and Contractor hired Subcontractor. Plaintiff, an employee of Subcontractor, was injured in the course and scope of his employment and sought workers' compensation benefits from the City, Contractor, and Subcontractor. The Workers' Compensation Commissioner concluded that, because Howie's Roofing was uninsured, the Second Injury Fund was required to pay Plaintiff benefits under Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-355. The Fund contested liability, arguing that the City was required to pay the benefits owed to Plaintiff as his principal employer. The Commissioner determined that the City was Plaintiff's principal employer and ordered the City to pay workers' compensation benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that roof repair was a part or process in the City's trade or business under Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-291. View "Barker v. All Roofs by Dominic" on Justia Law