Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the trial court denying Plaintiff's application for a civil protection order, holding that Plaintiff's claims on appeal lacked merit.At issue before the Supreme Court was the standard courts must apply to determine whether an applicant for a civil protection order has established the element of fear. On appeal from the denial of her application for a civil protection order Plaintiff argued, among other things, that the trial court improperly interpreted Conn. Gen. Stat. 46b-16a as creating a subjective-objective standard for establishing fear rather than a purely objective standard. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court properly interpreted section 46b-16a; (2) none of the trial court's factual findings was clearly erroneous; and (3) section 46b-16a does not violate the equal protection clause of the Connecticut constitution. View "L.H.-S. v. N.B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court concluding that Defendant, as a hospital, was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the Connecticut Product Liability Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-572m et seq., under the circumstances of this case, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging injuries arising from Defendant's violations of, among other things, the product liability act, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., and common law. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant, concluding that Defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act and that Plaintiff's CUTPA and common law claims were time barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Defendant provided general information regarding various medical procedures on its website and did not significantly participate in placing the medical device at issue into the stream of commerce Defendant was not a product seller for purposes of imposing strict liability under the product liability act; and (2) the statutes of limitations governing Plaintiff's remaining claims were not tolled. View "Normandy v. American Medical Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-464, as amended by section 1 of No. 17-165 of the 2017 Public Acts (P.A. 17-165), did not authority the City of Waterbury's lien in this case, holding that there was no error.Plaintiff, an employee of the City, which is a self-insured municipality, was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The City paid for Plaintiff's medical care resulting from his injuries. After Plaintiff initiated an action against the third-party tortfeasor who caused the accident, the City filed a notice of lien with Plaintiff's attorney, claiming a right to reimbursement of the medical expenses it had paid. Plaintiff subsequently settled his civil action and brought this action contesting the validity of the City's lien on the proceeds of his settlement. The trial court granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, concluding that P.A. 17-165 did not apply retroactively to pending actions, such as Plaintiff's. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly determined that the City's lien stemmed from an improper, retroactive application of P.A. 17-165. View "Maghfour v. Waterbury" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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In this case arising from the sexual abuse of Plaintiffs by Allison Marchese, an English teacher at their high school, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the ground of governmental immunity, holding that there was no error.Plaintiffs brought this action for damages against the town of Madison, the town's Board of Education, and the principal of the Daniel Hand High School, pursuant to the municipal liability statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-557n, claiming that they were injured by Defendants' failure to prevent and/or interrupt Marchese's inappropriate relationship with Plaintiffs and to report Marchese's conduct to the proper authorities. The trial court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. View "Doe v. Madison" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court reversing the judgment of the trial court rendered in accordance with a jury verdict awarding Plaintiff damages for injuries he received from a fall on the City of Bridgeport's sidewalk, holding that the appellate court erred.On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the appellate court erred in determining, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-174(b), that the trial court should not have admitted into evidence a medical record containing the opinion of Plaintiff's treating physician assistant when Defendant was unable to cross-examine the physician assistant. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that the appellate court incorrectly determined that Plaintiff's medical records were inadmissible under section 52-174(b). View "DeMaria v. Bridgeport" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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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 affirmed the judgments of the trial court applying the general negligence statute of limitations in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-584 to Plaintiffs' claims alleging medical negligence instead of the extended limitation period set forth in section 52-577d, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiffs were minor patients of Robert Rackliffe, a pediatrician practicing in the early 1970s to the 1980s. Plaintiffs alleged that Rackliffe sexually assaulted them during their annual physical examinations and that Rackliffe's conduct constituted medical negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 52-577d did not apply to Plaintiffs' claims sounding in negligence and that the negligence claims were governed by the limitation period set forth in section 52-584. View "Doe v. Rackliffe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court rendering summary judgment in favor of Defendant, as executor of the estate of Robert Rackliffe, on the ground that Plaintiffs' negligence claims were time barred, holding that the extended limitation period set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-577d did not apply to Plaintiffs' negligence claims for personal injuries brought against the alleged perpetrator of a sexual assault.Seven plaintiffs, each of whom were minors at the time of the alleged assaults, alleged that Rackliffe's conduct constituted both intentional sexual assault and medical negligence. Defendant sought summary judgment as to the counts sounding in negligence, arguing that those counts were time barred by Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-584. The trial court granted summary judgment as to all of the negligence counts. Plaintiffs subsequently withdrew their additional claims and appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs' negligence claims were governed by the three-year limitation period set forth in section 52-584 and that section 52-577d did not apply to Plaintiffs' claims. View "Doe v. Rackliffe" on Justia Law

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In this personal injury action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants - the City of New Haven and one of its police officers, Nikki Curry - holding that the trial court incorrectly determined that Defendants were entitled to governmental immunity for discretionary acts pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-557n(a)(2)(B).On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in determining that Curry's decision to drive her vehicle into oncoming traffic was a discretionary act, rather than a ministerial act, because Curry's actions violated policies imposing ministerial duties regarding the operation of police vehicles, pursuits, and roadblocks. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that the trial court improperly granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on discretionary immunity grounds. View "Cole v. City of New Haven" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of Defendants on Plaintiffs' medical monitoring claims stemming from a workplace asbestos exposure at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's cogeneration project in Stratford, holding that the trial court properly granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment.The named plaintiff brought a class action complaint against Sikorsky and Carrier Corporation, alleging negligence, battery, recklessness, and strict liability for violations of the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq. and seeking remedies for asbestos exposure while working at the Sikorsky cogeneration project. The trial court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment. In so doing, the court declined to recognize a cause of action for medical monitoring under Connecticut law that would allow recovery for an increased risk of future injury rather than a present injury. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, even if this Court were to recognize a medical monitoring claim in the absence of any physical manifestation of injury under Connecticut law, Plaintiffs nevertheless failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to certain elements of the claim. View "Dougan v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp." on Justia Law