Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants and upholding the legality of assessments of Plaintiffs' properties following a revaluation - which was a mass appraisal - conducted by the Town of Groton as a direct equalization measure in order to ensure that Plaintiffs' neighborhood was not undertaxed relative to others in the municipality, holding that the trial court properly determined that Plaintiffs' assessments were not manifestly excessive. Plaintiffs argued that Defendants violated Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-62 and numerous regulations promulgated by the state Office of Policy and Management when they applied a flat, undifferentiated adjustment factor that increased the assessed value of all properties in Groton Long Point by a certain percentage without individualized consideration of the unique characteristics of each property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendants validly incorporated ratio studies and direct equalization via adjustment factors to neighborhood strata into the revaluation in order to ensure that Groton Long Point bore its fair share of the Town's municipal tax burden relative to the Town's other neighborhoods. View "Tuohy v. Town of Groton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court vacating the trial court's order denying David Salinas's motion for a protective order seeking to prohibit the Town of Redding from taking his deposition, holding that there was no appealable final judgment. Redding Life Care, LLC initiated an action against the Town to challenge the assessed value of real property it owned. The Town served Salinas, who had completed two appraisals of that property, with a subpoena compelling him to appear at a deposition. Salinas filed a motion for a protective order seeking to prohibit the Town from taking his deposition, arguing that he could not be compelled to testify as an expert because Connecticut law prohibited the compulsion of such unretained expert testimony. The trial court denied Salinas' motion. Salinas then filed a writ of error. The appellate court granted the writ. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court's order denying Salinas' motion for a protective order was an interlocutory ruling that normally is not appealable; and (2) the order satisfied neither the first or second prong of State v. Curcio, 463 A.2d 566 (Conn. 1983), and thus did not constitute an appealable final judgment. View "Redding Life Care, LLC v. Town of Redding" on Justia Law

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In this negligence case, the Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by a federal district court by concluding that the trial evidence was not legally sufficient to support the jury's finding that a continuing course of conduct tolled the statute of limitations. Plaintiff insurer brought this untimely filed action against Defendant claims adjuster alleging that Defendant caused Plaintiff to incur liability to a mortgagee. Plaintiff argued that the limitation period for commencing an action was tolled until Defendant produced a document in its files that reflected the mortgagee's interest during the course of litigation between the mortgagee and Plaintiff. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Plaintiff. The court, however, set aside the jury's verdict on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that a continuing course of conduct tolled the action. The Supreme Court concluded that the evidence was not legally sufficient to toll the statute of limitations. View "Essex Insurance Co. v. William Kramer & Associates, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants after concluding that Plaintiff did not sufficiently plead that a transaction was an auction without reserve, holding that Plaintiff’s allegations were insufficient to allege an auction without reserve. After it granted Defendants’ motions to strike the trial court rendered judgment determining that Plaintiff failed to allege that one of the defendant’s request that potential buyers of its property submit their highest and best offers constituted an auction without reserve for purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. 42a-2-328(3). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s allegation that the defendant used the phrase “highest and best offers,” without more, was insufficient to plead an auction without reserve. View "Restaurant Supply, LLC v. Giardi Ltd. Partnership" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court sustaining Plaintiff’s administrative appeal, holding that the trial court erred in determining that Defendant’s proposed revision of boundary lines between certain adjacent lots constituted a new subdivision under Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-18 and erred in applying section III.F.7 of the Burlington Zoning Regulations (regulations). In finding that Defendant’s proposed lot line revisions constituted a subdivision, the trial court applied section IV.B.5 of the regulations, which requires an increased minimum lot area for new subdivisions. The court also applied section III.F.7, which governs the establishment of non-conforming uses on preexisting lots. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant’s proposed lot line revisions did not create a subdivision because the revisions did not divide one parcel of land into three or more parts; and (2) Defendant did not propose the establishment of a nonconforming use because the property lines, as revised, met the size requirements applicable to lots in existence as of October 1, 1983, the date the town of Burlington adopted section IV.B.5 of the regulations. View "Cady v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the Commissioner of Transportation (Defendant) on Plaintiff’s complaint alleging, inter alia, that Defendant negligently authorized Hallberg Contracting Company to deposit construction materials on Plaintiff’s property. With Defendant’s consent, Hallberg, a subcontractor on a highway reconstruction project, entered into an oral contract with a third party to use the property for stockpiling construction materials related to a highway reconstruction project. Hallberg deposited thirty-two truckloads of material on the property. The trial court found that Defendant negligently authorized Hallberg to dispose of the construction materials on the property but that Plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages. The court then awarded $29,855 in damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court’s award of damages was not clearly erroneous; (2) the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages was supported by sufficient evidence in the record; and (3) the trial court properly did not award Plaintiff damages for lost profits. View "Sun Val, LLC v. Commissioner of Transportation" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over compensation owed after property was taken by eminent domain, the Supreme Court reversed the interest awarded by the trial court and otherwise affirmed the judgment, holding that the trial court lacked authority to set a rate of interest other than the default rate after it rendered its judgment of compensation. Plaintiff, the city of Hartford, took certain property owned by three defendants. Defendants appealed from the statement of compensation filed by the city. The trial court sustained the appeal and increased the amount of compensation. The court then ordered the city to pay interest at the rate of 7.22 percent. The Supreme Court reversed as to the rate of interest and offer of compromise interest, holding (1) the trial court properly valued the property; but (2) the trial court exceeded its authority under Conn. Gen. Stat. 37-3c in awarding interest at the rate of 7.22 percent after it rendered judgment sustaining Defendants’ appeal because Defendants were entitled only to the default rate of interest provided in section 37-3c. The Court remanded the case with direction to award the default rate of interest under section 37-3c. View "Hartford v. CBV Parking Hartford, LLC" on Justia Law

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Because Defendant’s signs on her property were not “advertising signs,” the trial court properly concluded that municipal regulation of the signs was outside the scope of a municipality’s zoning commission’s authority to regulate the height, size, and location of “advertising signs and billboards” under Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-2. Plaintiff, the zoning enforcement officer for the city of Milford, requested permanent injunctions ordering Defendant, a homeowner, to remove the subject signs from her property that were not in compliance with city zoning regulations and precluding her from occupying the property until she obtained certificates that she had made home improvements to her residence.The trial court denied Plaintiff’s request for the permanent injunctions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the phrase “advertising signs” under section 8-2 means any form of public announcement intended to aid directly or indirectly in the sale of goods or services, in the promulgation of a doctrine or idea, in securing attendance, or the like; (2) Defendant’s signs were not advertising signs under section 8-2, and therefore, the trial court properly concluded that the City lacked authority to regulate Defendant’s signs; and (3) the facts did not support the “extraordinary equitable remedy” of a permanent injunction prohibiting Defendant from occupying her premises. View "Kutcha v. Arisian" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court determining that Plaintiff, Walgreen Eastern Company, Inc., had established aggrievement under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-117a by showing that the valuation of Plaintiff’s property by Defendant, the Town of West Hartford, was excessive. The Court further affirmed the trial court’s judgment determining the true and actual value of the subject property and concluding that the Town’s valuation of the subject property was not manifestly excessive under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-119. After the Board of Assessment Appeals (Board) upheld the town assessor’s valuation, Plaintiff appealed to the superior court, which (1) found Plaintiff satisfied its burden of proving aggrievement; and (2) rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its section 12-117a count and in favor of the Town on Plaintiff’s section 12-119 count. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the relief awarded by the trial court was sufficient because the court properly determined the true and actual value of Plaintiff’s property; and (2) the trial court properly determined that Plaintiff did not meet its burden to establish a claim under section 12-119. View "Walgreen Eastern Co. v. Town of West Hartford" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding that Defendants had trespassed on property that Plaintiff owned. When Plaintiff commenced this action alleging trespass Defendants claimed that Plaintiff could not establish its ownership or possessory interest in the property on which Defendants were building. The trial court ruled in favor of Plaintiff and issued a permanent mandatory injunction ordering Defendants to remove structures from Plaintiff’s property that were not authorized by the permits issued to Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff owned the subject property, and (2) the scope of the trial court’s injunctive relief was not overly broad. View "FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. v. Stewart" on Justia Law