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Declaratory Judgment Law

Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=636

AC38585 - Sosa v. Commissioner of Correction ("The self-represented, incarcerated plaintiff, Andres R. Sosa, brought this action for monetary damages and declaratory and injunctive relief, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against employees of the Department of Correction, including Commissioner of Correction Scott Semple, Warden Carol Chapdelaine, and District Administrator Angel Quiros, individually and in their official capacities. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants wrongly revoked his visitation privileges in violation of his rights under the first and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution. The trial court granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss filed by the defendants. The court granted the motion to dismiss as to all claims for monetary damages as to all of the defendants in their official and individual capacities. The court also granted the motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for injunctive and declaratory relief against the defendants in their individual capacities, but denied the motion to dismiss his claims for prospective declarative and injunctive relief against the defendants in their official capacities. The plaintiff appeals from the judgment of dismissal of all of his claims against the defendants in their individual capacities and his claim for monetary damages in their official capacities. Because there is no final judgment as to the plaintiff’s claims against the defendants in their official capacities, we dismiss the plaintiff’s appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his claim for monetary damages against the defendants in their official capacities. We affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing all of the claims against the defendants in their individual capacities.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=604

SC19432, SC19433 - Ferri v. Powell-Ferri ("These appeals arise from a declaratory judgment action filed by the plaintiffs, Michael J. Ferri and Anthony J. Medaglia, who are the trustees of a trust created by Paul John Ferri, Sr., in 1983 (1983 trust) solely for the benefit of his son, the defendant, Paul John Ferri, Jr. (Ferri). Specifically, the plaintiffs sought a judgment declaring that they were authorized to decant certain assets from the 1983 trust and that the named defendant, Nancy Powell-Ferri, had no right, title, or interest in those assets. On appeal, the plaintiffs and Ferri assert, inter alia, that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the plaintiffs did not have authority to decant the 1983 trust because Ferri had a vested and irrevocable interest in its assets. We disagree. In light of the opinion issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in response to this court’s certified questions; see Ferri v. Powell-Ferri, 476 Mass. 651, 72 N.E.3d 541 (2017); we conclude that, under Massachusetts law, it was proper for the plaintiffs to have decanted assets from the 1983 trust, and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the trial court on that issue. We also reverse the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees to Powell-Ferri in this matter. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in all other aspects.")


Business Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=559

AC38515, AC38516 - Deutsche Bank AG v. Sebastian Holdings, Inc. (Enforcing Foreign Judgment; "These appeals arise from an action to recover an approximately $243 million judgment (English judgment) rendered by the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales (English court) in an action captioned Deutsche Bank AG v. Sebastian Holdings, Inc. (English action) in which the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Deutsche Bank AG, against the corporate defendant, Sebastian Holdings, Inc. (Sebastian). In the present action, the plaintiff sought to pierce Sebastian’s corporate veil and to enforce the English judgment against the individual defendant, Alexander Vik. The defendants and the plaintiff moved for summary judgment based on the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel, respectively. On appeal, the parties claim that the trial court improperly denied their respective motions for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Judicial Branch Now Publishing Headnotes for its Supreme & Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=534

The Judicial Branch has announced that it is now publishing a syllabus (headnote) at the top of each Supreme and Appellate Court opinion:

The Judicial Branch is now posting online headnotes for both Supreme and Appellate Court opinions. These headnotes, which accompany individual Supreme and Appellate Court decisions, include a short summary of the ruling and the procedural history of a case. The Reporter of Judicial Decisions prepares the headnotes, which are not part of the opinion. As such, the opinion alone should be relied upon for the reasoning behind the decision [Emphasis added].

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Land Use Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=455

SC19797 - Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc. v. Platner ("This case raises the questions of whether a conservation restriction on private property was violated by the owner of that property and, if so, whether the remedies ordered by the trial court were proper. The defendant Beverly Platner appeals from the judgment of the trial court awarding legal and equitable relief to the plaintiff Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc., after concluding that the defendant had violated a conservation restriction granted to the plaintiff by a former owner of the defendant’s property. The defendant claims that the trial court improperly found violations of the conservation restriction by misinterpreting it and improperly ordered relief that was either legally unauthorized or lacking in evidentiary support. We agree with the trial court’s interpretation of the conservation restriction and its consequent finding that the defendant had violated it in multiple respects, and we see no impropriety with respect to the portion of the court’s judgment awarding the plaintiff equitable relief. We agree with the defendant, however, that the court’s award of punitive damages was noncompliant with the authorizing provision, General Statutes § 52-560a (d), and that its award of attorney’s fees, in one respect, was improper. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=439

AC37620 - Mangiafico v. Farmington (Injunction; "The plaintiff . . . appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing four of the five counts in his complaint and rendering summary judgment on the remaining count. In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the actions of the municipal defendants, the town of Farmington (town) and five individuals sued in their official capacities (individual defendants), in placing his residential property on the town's blight list, issuing citations for blight violations, imposing daily fines for blight violations and recording liens on his property for failing to pay those fines, violated his due process rights, constituted an unconstitutional taking of his property, and inflicted severe emotional distress. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief, a discharge of the municipal blight liens, and indemnification by the town for damages caused by the individually named defendants.

On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants' motion to dismiss on the ground that he had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as provided by statute and the Code of the Town of Farmington (code). Further, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on his count seeking discharge of the municipal blight liens on the ground that he could not collaterally attack the validity of the assessments underlying those liens. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37976 - Mangiafico v. Farmington (Petition to open blight citation; "The defendant, the town of Farmington (town), appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court . . . in favor of the plaintiff . . . on his 'Petition to Reopen Assessment.' The plaintiff's petition challenged the town's issuance of various citations for violations of the town's blight ordinance. On appeal, the town claims that the court . . . improperly (1) denied its motion to dismiss the plaintiff's action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and (2) determined that the town was judicially estopped from arguing that the plaintiff's claims were not ripe for adjudication because it had taken an inconsistent position in a prior action between the parties. We agree with the town's claims and, accordingly, remand the case to the trial court with direction to dismiss the plaintiff's action.")


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=306

SC19574 - CCT Communications, Inc. v. Zone Telecom, Inc. (Breach of contract; declaratory judgment; "The plaintiff, CCT Communications, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendant, Zone Telecom, Inc., on the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's counterclaim for damages. The case arises from a purchase agreement (purchase agreement) entered into by the parties in which the plaintiff was to provide various telecommunications equipment, software, and services to the defendant for a switch room located in Los Angeles, California (switch room). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court incorrectly rendered judgment in favor of the defendant on its complaint and the defendant's counterclaim. Specifically, the plaintiff asserts that the trial court incorrectly: (1) concluded that it breached the purchase agreement; (2) failed to award the plaintiff certain damages on count one of its complaint; and (3) awarded damages, costs and attorney's fees in excess of a limitation of liability clause in the purchase agreement. We disagree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Environmental Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=264

SC19620 - Connecticut Energy Marketers Assn. v. Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection (Declaratory judgment; sovereign immunity; "The issue that we must address in this appeal is whether the issuance of a comprehensive energy strategy by the defendant Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (department), pursuant to a legislative directive, and the subsequent approval of a plan to expand the use of natural gas in this state by the department and the defendant Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (authority) constituted ' "actions which may significantly affect the environment" ' within the meaning of General Statutes § 22a-1c, thereby triggering the requirement for written evaluation of the expansion plan's environmental impact pursuant to General Statutes § 22a-1b (c). The plaintiff, Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, brought this action against the defendants claiming that they violated the Environmental Policy Act (act), General Statutes § 22a-1 et seq., when the department issued a comprehensive energy strategy that contemplated a significant expansion of the use of natural gas in this state, and when both defendants approved a plan for such expansion, without evaluating the environmental impact of, among other things, an increase in the use of natural gas pursuant to § 22a-1b (c). The defendants filed separate motions to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint claiming that only 'individual activities or a sequence of planned activities proposed to be undertaken by state departments, institutions or agencies, or funded in whole or in part by the state, which could have a major impact on the state's' environmental resources; General Statutes § 22a-1c; constitute 'actions which may significantly affect the environment' for purposes of § 22a-1b (c). Because they did not undertake any such activities, the defendants claimed, no environmental impact evaluation was required. The trial court agreed with the defendants and rendered judgment dismissing the complaint. The plaintiff claims on appeal to this court that the trial court improperly determined that the defendants' activities did not constitute 'actions which may significantly affect the environment' for purposes of § 22a-1b (c). We disagree with the plaintiff, and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

  • SC19620 Dissent - Connecticut Energy Marketers Assn. v. Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection


Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=262

SC19668 - Lackman v. McAnulty (Declaratory judgment; quiet title; "In this case, we consider whether a grantor's failure to record a separate document limiting his powers ' "as trustee" ' in accordance with General Statutes § 47-20, when that grantor quitclaimed real property to himself as trustee, has the effect of nullifying the transfer of that property to the trust corpus, thereby allowing that grantor, as an individual, subsequently to devise that property through his will. The plaintiffs . . . appeal from the trial court's award of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, who are beneficiaries of a trust settled by the decedent . . . . On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly determined that the phrase 'otherwise dispose of' within § 47-20 does not include a specific devise in a will. The plaintiffs argue, therefore, that the decedent's failure to record a separate document limiting his powers as trustee when he quitclaimed a certain parcel of real property to himself as trustee subsequently allowed the decedent to devise the property to the plaintiffs in his will. We disagree with the plaintiffs, and conclude that § 47-20 does not apply in this case because it protects only the interests of third parties who obtain property by means of a conveyance from a grantor who had received that property as trustee in the first instance. Because § 47-20 did not nullify the decedent's quitclaim deed to himself as trustee, the property was a trust asset, and the specific devise in the decedent's will adeemed. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=172

SC19769 - Price v. Independent Party of CT—State Central (This case involves a dispute between two factions of this state's Independent Party. The question before the court is whether it has original jurisdiction, pursuant to General Statutes § 9-323, to remedy certain alleged violations of party procedure and election law by caucus officials of one of those factions, the named defendant, the Independent Party of CT—State Central, pertaining to its nomination of the defendant Daniel Carter for the United States Senate. After an expedited hearing on September 29, 2016, the court concluded that the plaintiffs, John R. Price, the nominee for the United States Senate of the other faction, the Independent Party of Connecticut, and Michael Telesca, an elector and registered member of the Independent Party of Connecticut, had failed to establish that the court had jurisdiction to entertain their claims under § 9-323. The court therefore granted the motion to dismiss filed by the Independent Party of CT—State Central and Carter. This written opinion followed.)


Probate Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=123

AC37967 - Heisinger v. Dillon
AC37969 - In re Probate Appeal of Heisinger
("In the first action, Cody B. Heisinger v. Ann H. Dillon et al. (AC 37967) (declaratory judgment action), the plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment against Dillon and the trustees, construing the trust to provide that following his father’s death, the trust income formerly distributed to his father should be distributed to him rather than to Dillon. In the second action, In re Probate Appeal of Cody B. Heisinger (AC 37969) (probate action), the plaintiff appealed from a Probate Court order approving an interim accounting of the trust’s assets, including distributions to Dillon of income previously distributed to Frank Heisinger before his death. After all parties in the two actions filed and argued motions for summary judgment, the trial court concluded that the plaintiff was not entitled to receive his deceased father’s distribution of trust income, and thus rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants in both actions. The plaintiff appeals, claiming that the trial court erred in construing the trust not to entitle him to receive his father’s share of the trust income. We disagree with the plaintiff, and we thus affirm the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendants in the declaratory judgment action and dismiss the appeal in the probate action as moot.")


Declaratory Judgment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=82

AC37588 - Prime Locations of CT, LLC v. Rocky Hill Development, LLC ("The defendants MPM Enterprises, LLC (MPM), and Luke DiMaria appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Prime Locations of CT, LLC (Prime Locations), Hasson Holdings, LLC (Hasson), SMS Realty, LLC (SMS), and C&G Holdings, LLC (C&G). On appeal, the defendants argue that the court improperly (1) concluded that the plaintiffs had standing and (2) decided the case on a basis that was not pleaded, briefed or argued during the proceedings in the trial court. We agree with the defendants' second claim, and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=65

SC19600 - State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Tully ("The principal issue in these appeals is whether evidence of an insured person’s voluntary intoxication may be used, when an insurance policy excludes coverage for intentional acts, to negate intent and thereby establish the insurer’s duty to defend the insured person against civil claims arising from sexual misconduct with a minor. The plaintiff, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that it owed no duty to defend the named defendant, Mark Tully, under a homeowners insurance policy (policy), in a separate civil action filed on behalf of the defendant Child Doe. The defendants appeal from the judgment of the trial court granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that, because the policy excluded coverage for acts ‘intended’ by the insured, Tully’s actions fell outside the scope of the policy and, thus, the plaintiff had no duty to defend him under the presumption of intent established in United Services Automobile Assn. v. Marburg, 46 Conn. App. 99, 104–105, 98 A.2d 914 (1997). On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff because evidence that Tully was intoxicated at the time of the incident created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether his actions were intentional. Specifically, the defendants assert that evidence of voluntary intoxication may negate the intent presumed under Marburg and thereby establish an insurer’s duty to defend. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



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