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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the habeas court rejecting Petitioner’s claim that a 2013 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-125a, as applied retroactively to him, violated the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution, holding that the ex post facto clause barred the Commissioner of Correction from applying the 2013 amendment retroactively to Petitioner. The amendment at issue eliminated risk reduction credit awarded pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 18-93e from the calculation of a violent offender’s initial parole eligibility date. Petitioner argued argued that, under the version of section 54-125a in effect when he committed his offenses, he was entitled to have any such credit that he had earned applied to advance his initial parole eligibility date. The habeas court concluded that Petitioner failed to establish an ex post facto violation. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the 2013 amendment to section 54-125a, as applied to Petitioner, violated the ex post facto clause. View "Garner v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss this claim brought by trust beneficiaries against third parties on behalf of the trust, holding that the trial court properly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claim. Plaintiffs, beneficiaries of a trust, brought a breach of contract claim against Defendants, the financial advisor for the trust and the advisor’s employee. Plaintiffs argued that they fit within an exception to the general rule that beneficiaries of a trust lack standing to bring an action against a third party for liability to the trust, thus allowing them to bring this action because trustee improperly refused or neglected to do so. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the trustee improperly failed to sue Defendants for their alleged breach, and therefore, the allegations were insufficient to demonstrate that Plaintiffs had standing to sue. View "Browning v. Van Brunt, DuBiago & Co., LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Commissioner of Transportation on the ground that Plaintiff’s personal injury action was barred by sovereign immunity, holding that the waiver of sovereign immunity under Conn. Gen. Stat. 13a-444, the state’s highway defect statute, extended to Plaintiff’s claim that the state police failed to close a bridge before a crew from the Department of Transportation could arrive to address an icy surface on that bridge. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the waiver of sovereign immunity under section 13a-144 extends to the actions of state employees other than those employed by the commissioner, but only to the extent those employees are performing duties related to highway maintenance and the plaintiff proves that a relationship exists between the commissioner and the state employee such that the commissioner can be found to have breached his statutory duty to keep highways, bridges, or sidewalks in repair; and (2) in this case, there was no evidence indicating that the requisite relationship existed between the commissioner and the state police, and therefore, the commissioner could not be held liable for the failure of the state police to close the bridge. View "Graham v. Commissioner of Transportation" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over a public records request, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the search and seizure statutes, Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-33a through 54-36p, do not satisfy the requirements set forth in Conn. Get Stat. 1-210(a), which exempts documents from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act that are “otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute….” The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection received a request from The Hartford Courant Company and its reporter (collectively, Courant), seeking copies of documents referred to in a report prepared by the Connecticut State police on the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When the Department did not timely respond to the request, Courant filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission. The Commission concluded that the documents were public records under the Act. The trial court, however, concluded that the documents were exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 1-210(a) because they were seized pursuant to a search warrant as part of the criminal investigation of the incident. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that that records governed by the search and seizure statutes are not exempt from disclosure under the Act. View "Commissioner of Emergency Services & Public Protection v. Freedom of Information Commission" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s judgment of conviction of three counts of illegal practices in campaign financing, holding that the trial court improperly instructed the jury as to the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal campaign financing practices. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that to find him guilty of an illegal campaign financing practice it must find that he acted with specific intent to violate Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-622(7). The State countered that the trial court properly instructed the jury that it had to find that Defendant acted with general intent. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the jury was not properly instructed regarding the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal practices in campaign financing, and it was reasonably possible that the jury was misled. View "State v. Newton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal 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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At issue was the extent to which Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-256(b)(2) imposes a tax on gross earnings from a satellite television operator’s business operations in Connecticut, including the transmission of video programming, the sale and lease of equipment required to view that programming, the installation and maintenance of such equipment, DVR services, and payment related fees. The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgments of the trial court sustaining in part Plaintiff’s tax appeals and ordering a refund of taxes previously paid on earnings from the sale of certain goods and services, holding (1) the trial court did not err in determining that Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-268i does not provide the exclusive procedure for challenging a tax assessment for a tax period that has been the subject of an audit; (2) section 12-256(b)(2) imposes a tax on gross earnings from the transmission of video programming by satellite and certain payment related fees, but not the sale, lease, installation, or maintenance of equipment or DVR service; and (3) the trial court did not err in determining that Plaintiff was not entitled to interest on the refund pursuant to section 12-268c. View "Dish Network, LLC v. Commissioner of Revenue Services" on Justia Law

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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

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court held that Defendant-employer was collaterally estopped from challenging an employee’s eligibility for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act (state act), Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-275 et seq., because of an earlier decision by a United States Department of Labor administrative law judge (ALJ) awarding benefits to the employee under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act), 33 U.S.C. 901 et seq. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Compensation Review Board (Board) reversing the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner dismissing the claims for benefits under the state act filed by Plaintiff, the executor of the decedent’s estate and the decedent’s widow. The Court held that the Board properly determined that the employer in this case was collaterally estopped from relitigating the issue of causation under the state act because the record of the Longshore Act proceedings indicated that the ALJ employed the substantial factor standard that governed the proceedings under the state act. View "Filosi v. Electric Boat Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of threatening in the first degree, two counts of disorderly conduct, and breach of the peace in the second degree, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were unavailing. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the threatening charge on the ground that Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-61aa(a)(3) is unconstitutional as violating free speech protections; (2) the trial court properly considered evidence of events that occurred after Defendant sent a threatening email to support its conclusion that Defendant violated section 53a-61aa(a)(3); and (3) the evidence was sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to convict Defendant of threatening in the first degree in violation of section 53a-61aa(a)(3). View "State v. Taupier" on Justia Law