Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant
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In this summary process action for nonpayment of rent under the terms of a commercial lease the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment of possession rendered in favor of Plaintiffs, holding that the trial court properly denied Defendants equitable relief from forfeiture of their tenancy.After the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's judgment of possession rendered in favor of Plaintiffs, Defendants appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying their special defense of equitable nonforfeiture. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the facts of this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Defendants equitable relief from forfeiture. View "Boccanfuso v. Daghoghi" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment of possession rendered in favor of Plaintiffs, holding that the trial court properly rejected Defendants' claim that the doctrine of equitable nonforfeiture should have operated to prevent their eviction in a summary process action for nonpayment of rent under the terms of a commercial lease.After Defendants failed to pay rent, Plaintiffs served a notice to quit on Defendants, thereby terminating the parties' lease. Because Defendants did not subsequently vacate the premises Plaintiffs initiated this summary process action. In response, Defendants raised special defenses, including the special defense of equitable nonforfeiture. The trial court rendered judgment of possession for Plaintiffs. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Defendants equitable relief from forfeiture and granting possession of the premises to Plaintiffs. View "Boccanfuso v. Daghoghi" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court dismissing the summary process action initiated by Landlord, holding that the the trial court properly concluded that the inclusion of undesignated charges for obligations other than rent rendered the pretermination notice jurisdictionally defective.In this summary process action, Landlord provided a pretermination notice to Tenant, Tenant, who resided in federally subsidized housing, asserting nonpayment of rent as the ground for proposed termination. The notice also alleged violations of leases that were no longer in effect. The trial court granted Tenant's motion to dismiss, determining that the notice was defective because it contained legally impermissible and factually inaccurate grounds for termination. The Appellate Court reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the the notice was not effective because it was inaccurate to the point that Tenant's ability to prepare a defense against the alleged reason for termination was impaired. View "Presidential Village, LLC v. Perkins" 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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In this summary process action, the trial court relied on the “spirit” of certain federal disability laws in support of an equitable defense to the eviction of Defendant, a tenant who kept an “emotional support dog” in her federally subsidized rental apartment despite a clause restricting pets that was included in her lease. Plaintiff appealed from the trial court’s judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this appeal was not rendered moot when Plaintiff commenced an ancillary summary process action against Defendant, the filing of which had the effect of affirmatively reinstating Defendant’s tenancy; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion by relying on the spirit of the federal regulations and by applying the doctrine of equitable nonforfeiture to support its equitable decision in favor of Defendant. View "Presidential Village, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law

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Grievant, a state employee and a member of a Union, was terminated after he was caught smoking marijuana. The Union contested Grievant’s termination. Concluding that complete termination of Grievant’s conduct was not the only appropriate penalty for his misconduct, an arbitrator reinstated Grievant to his employment and imposed a number of sanctions and conditions short of termination. The trial court vacated the award, concluding that there was a well-defined public policy against the use of marijuana and that the arbitrator’s award violated that policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in concluding that reinstatement of the Grievant violated public policy. View "State v. Conn. Employees Union Indep." on Justia Law

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After Defendant, the owner of real property in the Town of Canton, abandoned the subject property, the Town filed a petition seeking the appointment of a receiver of rents. The trial court, finding that Defendant owed the Town taxes, granted the petition and authorized the receiver to collect all rents or use and occupancy payments. The court subsequently modified its order to allow the receiver to evict the tenant and to bring an action against the tenant for all rents due. The tenant moved to remove the receiver, asserting that the receiver had exceeded its authority under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-163a by serving it with a notice to quit and by bring an action to collect back taxes and prior rents. The court denied the motion for removal. The Appellate Court (1) reversed insofar as the trial court granted the receiver’s motion to modify the receivership orders, but (2) affirmed insofar as it denied the tenant’s motion to remove the receiver. The Supreme Court (1) reversed as to the reversal of the trial court’s judgment granting the receiver’s motion for modification, holding that section 12-163a does authorize a receiver to use legal process to collect rent due prior to the date of the receiver’s appointment; and (2) otherwise affirmed. View "Canton v. Cadle Props. of Conn., Inc." on Justia Law

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Getty Properties Corp. leased certain properties to Getty Petroleum Marketing, Inc. by way of a master lease. Getty Marketing sublet the properties to Green Valley Oil, LLC. Thereafter, Green Valley entered into an individual sub-sublease with each Defendant, the owners of retail gasoline stations. Getty Properties subsequently terminated the master lease. Getty Marketing then filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court rejected the master lease and ordered that Getty Marketing relinquish possession of the properties to Getty Properties. Getty Properties and NECG Holdings Corp. served Defendants with notices to quit, but Defendants refused to vacate the properties. Plaintiffs subsequently commenced summary process actions against Defendants. The trial court rendered judgment of immediate possession for Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in (1) determining that Plaintiffs’ notices to quit were valid; (2) admitting into evidence the lease between Getty Properties and Getty Marketing, as well as the sublease between Getty Marketing and Green Valley; (3) interpreting the various pleadings in Getty Marketing’s bankruptcy case as terminating the lease and the sublease; (4) finding that Plaintiffs proved a prima facie case for summary process; and (5) failing to dismiss the summary process action as premature. View "Getty Props. Corp. v. ATKR, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff leased property from Defendants pursuant to a lease agreement that included an arbitration clause. Plaintiffs later sued Defendants over disputes regarding the lease. After engaging in litigation with Plaintiff for more than two years, Defendants filed a motion to stay the proceedings pending arbitration under the parties’ lease agreement. Plaintiff objected to the motion, arguing that Defendants had waived their right to enforce the arbitration clause by engaging in lengthy litigation. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion, concluding, as a matter of law, that a party cannot waive enforcement of an arbitration clause in a contract. The Appellate Court affirmed, concluding that the record was inadequate for review because the trial court failed to make any factual findings on the issue of waiver. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the legal basis of the trial court’s decision was at issue, a factual record on the question of waiver was not necessary to review the trial court’s decision; and (2) the trial court based its judgment on an incorrect statement of the law, and therefore, the court erred in granting Defendants’ motion for a stay pending arbitration. View "MSO, LLC v. DeSimone" on Justia Law

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At issue in this certified appeal was whether a landlord may be held liable, under a common-law theory of premises liability, for injuries sustained by a tenant after being bitten by a dog owned by a fellow tenant and kept on premises owned by the common landlord, when the landlord knew of the dog's dangerous propensities but did not have direct care of, or control over, the dog. Defendant, the town of Wallingford housing authority, appealed from the judgment of the appellate court reversing the judgment of the trial court following its decision granting Defendant's motion to strike a complaint brought by Plaintiff, seeking to recover damages for such injuries. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a landlord's common-law duty to alleviate known dangers includes dangers posed by vicious dogs. View "Giacalone v. Town of Wallingford Housing Auth." on Justia Law