Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Health Law
Fay v. Merrill
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant, Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State, intros action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to Defendant's change of the absentee ballot application for the August 11, 2020 primary election to add COVID-19 as a new reason for requesting an absentee ballot pursuant to Executive Order No. 7QQ, holding that the trial court did not err.At issue in this public interest appeal was whether Governor Ned Lamont's executive order, which was later ratified by the legislature and which modified Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-135 by adding COVID-19 as a permissible reason for absentee voting violates Conn. Const. art. VI, 7. The trial court granted jumtgnet for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Executive Order No. 7QQ does not violate Article 6, Section 7. View "Fay v. Merrill" on Justia Law
Geriatrics, Inc. v. McGee
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court insofar as it rendered judgment in Defendant's favor on counts alleging fraudulent transfer under the Connecticut Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (CUFTA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-552a through 52-552l, and unjust enrichment, holding that the trial court erred in rejecting Plaintiff's CUFTA claim but did not err in rejecting Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim.Defendant Stephen McGee used a power of attorney granted to him by his elderly mother, Helen McGee, to transfer to himself funds from Helen's checking account. As a consequence of the transfers, Helen had insufficient assets to pay her debt to Plaintiff Geriatrics, Inc. Plaintiff brought this action, and the trial court rendered judgment in Defendant's favor on Plaintiff's CUFTA and unjust enrichment claims. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) in rejecting the CUFTA claim the trial court improperly failed to consider and apply agency principles; and (2) in light of the unrequited evidence, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim. View "Geriatrics, Inc. v. McGee" on Justia Law
Angersola v. Radiologic Associates of Middletown, P.C.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting the motions to dismiss filed by Defendants, healthcare providers, on the ground that Plaintiffs failed to commence their action within the five-year repose period of Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-555, the wrongful death statute, holding that, under the facts of this case, the trial court improperly resolved disputed jurisdictional facts without providing Plaintiffs an opportunity either to engage in limited discovery or to present evidence in connection with their argument that the repose period had been tolled by the continuing course of conduct doctrine. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "Angersola v. Radiologic Associates of Middletown, P.C." on Justia Law
Hull v. Town of Newtown
Certain policy and procedures of the Newtown Police Department did not impose a ministerial duty on the department’s officers to search Stanley Lupienski, an individual suffering from auditory hallucinations and shortness of breath, when they took him into custody pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 17a-503(a).The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the Town of Newtown, holding (1) the arrest section of the Department’s policy applies only in the context of criminal arrest and does not apply in the context of civil mental health custody, which is governed by section 17a-503(a); and (2) Lupienski was not subject to mandatory search under the Department’s prisoner transportation section of the policy because the transportation policy does not apply to those under custody pursuant to section 17a-503(a). View "Hull v. Town of Newtown" on Justia Law
Posted in: Health Law
In re Elianah T.-T.
Vaccinations are not “medical treatment” within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. 17a-10(c), and therefore, the statute does not authorize the Commissioner of Children and Families to vaccinate a child temporarily placed in her custody over the objection of that child’s parents.The children’s parents in this case entered pleas of nolo contendere as to neglect allegations and agreed to commit their two children temporarily to the care and custody of the Commissioner. The parents, however, objected to vaccination of the children for common childhood diseases in accordance with the Department of Children and Families’ usual practice. The trial court granted the Commissioner permission to vaccinate the children, concluding that the Commissioner had the authority and obligation to vaccinate the children pursuant to section 17a-10c. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute does not authorize the Commissioner to vacate children committed to her temporary custody without parental consent. View "In re Elianah T.-T." on Justia Law
Dyous v. Commissioner of Mental Health & Addiction Services
Petitioner was charged with several criminal offenses. Petitioner pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. After a nonadversarial proceeding, the court rendered a judgment acquitting Petitioner of all offenses on the basis of mental disease or defect and committed Petitioner to the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Respondent) for a period not to exceed twenty-five years. Respondent later transferred custody of Petitioner to the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board. Petitioner remained committed to the custody of the Board for more than twenty-five years. Petitioner then filed a petition for habeas corpus challenging his extended confinement. The habeas court denied Petitioner’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the habeas court properly denied Petitioner relief on his claim regarding the knowing and voluntary nature of his plea; and (2) the habeas court correctly determined that Petitioner did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Dyous v. Commissioner of Mental Health & Addiction Services" on Justia Law
Freedom of Info. Officer, Dep’t of Mental Health & Addiction Servs. v. Freedom of Info. Comm’n
Plaintiffs, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and its Freedom of Information Officer, received a request under the Freedom of Information Act from Ron Robillard for records concerning Amy Archer Gillian, who was convicted of second degree murder for the arsenic poisoning of a resident of her nursing home. Plaintiffs disclosed some, but not all, of the requested records. The Freedom of Information Commission determined that Gilligan’s medical and dental records were not exempt from disclosure. The trial court sustained Plaintiffs’ appeal as to those records. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Plaintiffs had standing to appeal the decision of the Commission; and (2) the documents at issue were medical records related to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient and were, therefore, psychiatric records exempt from disclosure pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-146e. View "Freedom of Info. Officer, Dep’t of Mental Health & Addiction Servs. v. Freedom of Info. Comm’n" on Justia Law
In re Cassandra C.
The Commissioner of Children and Families filed a neglect petition seeking an order of temporary custody of Cassandra C., a minor, after medical providers reported that Cassandra and her mother were refusing to obtain appropriate medical treatment for Cassandra, who had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The trial court granted the order and placed Cassandra in the temporary custody of the Department of Children and Families, directing Respondents to cooperate with Cassandra’s medical care providers. Thereafter, Cassandra started chemotherapy but ran away before the treatment could be completed. The Commissioner moved to reopen the evidence to consider evidence regarding whether Cassandra was competent to make life-death decisions regarding her medical care. After a hearing, the trial judge ordered that Cassandra remain in the custody of the Department and authorized the Department to make all medical decisions for her. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial judge’s finding that Cassandra was not competent to make her own medical decisions at the time of the underlying events was not clearly erroneous; (2) this was not a proper case in which to decide whether to adopt the mature minor doctrine, which allows a sufficiently mature minor to refuse medical treatment; and (3) Respondents’ constitutional rights were not violated. View "In re Cassandra C." on Justia Law
Byrne v. Avery Ctr. for Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C.
Plaintiff filed, among other claims, state law claims for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Defendant, a health care provider, alleging that Defendant improperly breached the confidentiality of Plaintiff’s medical records in the course of complying with a subpoena. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s negligence based claims, concluding that they were preempted by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which lacks a private right of action and preempts contrary state laws. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that HIPAA did not preempt Plaintiff’s state common-law causes of action for negligence or negligent infliction of emotional distress against Defendant because (1) Connecticut’s common law provides a remedy for a health care provider’s breach of confidentiality in the course of complying with a subpoena; and (2) HIPAA and its implementing regulations may be utilized to inform the standard of care applicable to claims arising from allegations of negligence in the disclosure of patients’ medical records pursuant to a subpoena. View "Byrne v. Avery Ctr. for Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C." on Justia Law
Weaver v. McKnight
The decedent in this case was stillborn. Plaintiffs, as coadministrators of the estate of the decedent, filed this action against Defendants, who provided prenatal care to the decedent’s mother, alleging that Defendants’ negligent failure to diagnose and treat the mother’s gestational diabetes caused the decedent’s stillbirth. At the close of Plaintiffs’ evidence the trial court granted Defendants' motion for a directed verdict, concluding that Plaintiffs had insufficient evidence to establish their claims. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in precluding two of their expert witnesses - physicians board certified in obstetrics and gynecology - from opining that the mother’s untreated gestational diabetes caused the decedent’s stillbirth. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in precluding the expert testimony on the basis that the expert witnesses were not qualified to render an opinion on the cause of the decedent’s stillbirth. Remanded. View "Weaver v. McKnight" on Justia Law