Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Escobar-Santana v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying the State's motion to dismiss the second count of the complaint filed by Celine Escobar-Santana (Celine) and her son Emmett Escobar-Santana (Emmett), holding that the phrase "medical malpractice claims" in Conn. Gen. Stat. 4-160(f) was broad enough to encompass Celine's claim for emotional distress damages under the circumstances of this case.Celine brought this action alleging that she suffered emotional distress damages from physical injuries to Emmett that were proximately caused by the negligence of health care professionals (collectively, Defendants) during the birthing process. The State moved to dismiss count two of the complaint on the ground that the count did not fall within the statutory waiver of the State's sovereign immunity in section 4-160(f) because the count stated a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress or bystander liability rather than medical malpractice. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Celine's allegation that she suffered a traumatic delivery followed by severe psychological distress was inextricably connected to her allegations of medical malpractice and therefore qualified as a medical malpractice claim for purposes of section 4-160(f). View "Escobar-Santana v. State" on Justia Law
Manginelli v. Regency House of Wallingford, Inc.
In this case determining the scope of immunity afforded by Executive Order No. 7V, as it related to acts or omissions undertaken in good faith by health care professionals and health care facilities because of an alleged lack of resources attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the trial court concluding that Defendants failed to establish that the immunity afforded by the order applied in this case.Governor Ned Lamont issued Executive Order No. 7V providing immunity from suit and liability to health care providers under certain circumstances relating to COVID-19. Plaintiff in this case filed wrongful death claims against Defendants, Regency House of Walling ford, Inc. and National Health Care Associates, Inc., alleging twelve counts of wrongful death based on medical negligence and medical recklessness. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming immunity under Executive Order No. 7V. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court too narrowly construed the language of the order but nevertheless did not err in denying Defendants' motion to dismiss. View "Manginelli v. Regency House of Wallingford, Inc." on Justia Law
Mills v. Hartford HealthCare Corp.
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court in his wrongful death action filed by the daughter of the decedent and the executor of her estate, holding that the trial court erred in dismissing counts five, six, and seven of the complaint.At issue was Executive Order No. 7V, which conferred immunity on health care providers in connection with the governor's March, 2020 declaration of a public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiff brought this action against several physicians and a hospital, but Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that they were immune under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) for allegedly grossly negligent acts and omissions undertaken before the receipt of the decedent's negative COVID-19 test result. The court granted the motions to dismiss as to certain physicians. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the trial court erred in concluding that Defendants were entitled to immunity under the PREP Act. View "Mills v. Hartford HealthCare Corp." on Justia Law
Adesokan v. Bloomfield
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the Town of Bloomfield, the Bloomfield Police Department, and one of its police officers, in this personal injury action, holding that the defense of discretionary act immunity provided by Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-557n(a)(2)(B) does not apply to claims arising from the manner in which an emergency vehicle is operated under the privileges provided by Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-283.Plaintiff and her children sustained personal injuries when police officer Jonathan Sykes collided with the driver's side of Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff brought this action claiming negligence, negligent supervision, and respondent superior. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the claims were barred by discretionary act immunity under section 52-557n(a)(2)(B). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the discretionary act immunity provided by § 52-557n(a)(2)(B) does not apply to the manner in which an emergency vehicle is operated by virtue of the codified, common-law duty to drive with "due regard" pursuant to section 14-283(d). View "Adesokan v. Bloomfield" on Justia Law
Comm’n on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Cantillon
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing the appeal brought by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in this housing discrimination case, holding that this Court was compelled to affirm.For several years, Richard Cantillon harassed his neighbor, Kelly Howard, by making obscene gestures, calling her racial epithets, and physically menacing Howard. Howard eventually filed a neighbor versus neighbor claim with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, alleging that Cantillon had violated her civil rights on account of her race. Cantillon defaulted, and the referee awarded Plaintiff $15,000 in damages. The Commission appealed the award as insufficient, but neither Howard nor Cantillon participated in the appeal. The trial court dismissed the appeal, concluding that there was no legal basis for it to second-guess the amount of the award. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appellate court appropriately resolved the Commission's claims under the circumstances of this case. View "Comm'n on Human Rights & Opportunities v. Cantillon" on Justia Law
Khan v. Yale University
The Supreme Court held that absolute immunity attaches to statements made in judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and that while Jane Doe was not entitled to absolute immunity, a qualified privilege is appropriate for alleged victims of sexual assault presented in the context of this case.In disciplinary proceedings conducted at Yale University by the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) Doe accused Plaintiff of sexual assault, resulting in Plaintiff's expulsion from Yale and criminal charges being brought against him. Plaintiff was acquitted. At issue in this appeal was whether Doe, who enjoyed absolute immunity in a subsequent civil action challenging her testimony given during Plaintiff's criminal proceeding, should likewise be afforded absolute immunity from suit for her statements made during the UWC proceeding. The Supreme Court held (1) absolute immunity attaches to statements in judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings; (2) the USC's proceeding did not meet the conditions necessary to be considered quasi-judicial, and therefore, Doe was not entitled to absolute immunity; but (3) due to the public interest in encouraging the proper reporting of sexual assaults a qualified privilege is appropriate for alleged victims of sexual assault at institutions of higher education. View "Khan v. Yale University" on Justia Law
Clark v. Waterford, Cohanzie Fire Dep’t
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court affirming the decision of the Compensation Review Board upholding the finding and award of the Workers' Compensation Commissioner for the Second Districting ordering the town of Waterford to accept as compensable Plaintiff's claim for heart disease benefits pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-433c, holding that the appellate court erred.In concluding that Plaintiff was entitled to benefits the Commissioner determined that section 7-433c does not define the phrase "uniformed member of a paid municipal fire department." The appellate court affirmed. On appeal, the town argued that the appellate court erred in determining that the definition of "member" in Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-425(5) does not govern whether the plaintiff was a uniformed member of a paid municipal fire department for purposes of section 7-433c. The appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the definition of "member" in section 7-425(5) governs eligibility for benefits under section 7-433c. View "Clark v. Waterford, Cohanzie Fire Dep't" on Justia Law
Robinson v. V.D.
The Supreme Court denied Plaintiffs' pending motion to dismiss this appeal for lack of a final judgment and transferred the case to the appellate court for further proceedings, holding that Defendant asserted a colorable claim to a right to avoid litigation under the anti-SLAPP statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-196a.Plaintiffs brought this action claiming that Defendant made false accusations against them and alleging defamation, invasion of privacy by false light, and other claims. Defendant filed a special motion to dismiss under section 52-196a, arguing that his challenged conduct arose from the exercise of his constitutional rights to free speech, to petition the government, and to associate as a member of a labor union. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court transferred the case to the lower court for further proceedings, holding that Defendant failed to meet his burden of showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the complaint was based on the exercise of his right of free speech, to petition the government, or of association. View "Robinson v. V.D." on Justia Law
Smith v. Supple
The Supreme Court transferred this appeal to the appellate court for further proceedings, holding that the trial court erred in denying Defendants' special motion to dismiss the action under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-196a because Defendants asserted a colorable claim that they were entitled to a right to avoid litigation under the anti-SLAPP statute.Plaintiffs, including The Churchill Institute, Inc., brought this action against Defendants, students at Trinity College in Hartford, alleging libel per se, libel per quod, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Defendants filed a special motion to dismiss under the anti-SLAPP statute, arguing that their disputed conduct was a lawful exercise of their rights of free speech and association. The Supreme Court transferred the appeal and held that the denial of a special motion to dismiss based on a colorable claim of a right to avoid litigation under section 52-196a is an immediately appealable final judgment under the second prong of State v. Curcio, 463 A.2d 566 (Conn. 1983). View "Smith v. Supple" on Justia Law
Pryor v. Brignole
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court dismissing Defendants' appeals from the order of the trial court denying their specials motions to dismiss the underlying civil action brought against them by Plaintiff, holding that a trial court's denial of a colorable special motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-196a is an appealable final judgment under State v. Curcio, 453 A.2d 566 (Conn. 1983).Plaintiff brought this action against claiming that Defendants breached a nondisparagement provision of the parties' settlement agreement, caused him to suffer economic damages, and deprived him of the benefit of the agreement. Defendants filed separate special motions to dismiss the action as a SLAPP suit pursuant to Conn. Gen. Conn. 52-196a. The trial court denied the special motions. The appellate court reversed and granted Plaintiff's motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court's denial of Defendants' colorable special motions to dismiss constituted an appealable final judgment under State v. Curcio, 463 A.2d 566 (Conn. 1983). View "Pryor v. Brignole" on Justia Law