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Recent Opinions

Connecticut Law Journal - November 21, 2017

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=765

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXIX, No. 21, for November 21, 2017 is now available.

Contained in this issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 324 Conn. Replacement Pages 654 - 654
  • Volume 327: Connecticut Reports (Pages 114 - 172)
  • Volume 327: Orders (Pages 956 - 959)
  • Volume 327: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 178: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 112 - 257)
  • Volume 178: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 902 - 902)
  • Volume 178: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=762

AC39034 - Beck & Beck, LLC v. Costello ("The defendant, James T. Costello, appeals from the trial court’s dismissal of his amended counterclaims and cross claims against the plaintiff, Beck & Beck, LLC, and the counterclaim defendant, Kenneth A. Beck. On appeal, the defendant argues that the court erroneously dismissed his counterclaims and cross claims for lack of standing after finding that the claims belonged to his bankruptcy estate and not to him. We disagree, and accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Attorney Misconduct Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=761

AC39856 - Picard v. Guilford House, LLC ("This matter comes before this court on a writ of error brought by the plaintiff in error, Linda Lehmann, former attorney for the plaintiff in the underlying action, Angela Picard. The plaintiff in error challenges the order of the trial court, Miller, J. imposing financial sanctions upon her for misconduct while conducting an out-of-state deposition in the underlying action. We conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the challenged sanctions. Accordingly, we dismiss the writ of error.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=760

SC19678 - State v. Urbanowski (Assault second degree; breach of peace second degree; strangulation second degree; threatening second degree; certification from Appellate Court; "After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties before this court, we have determined that the judgment of the Appellate Court should be affirmed. We do not consider whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that the trial court had abused its discretion in admitting the uncharged misconduct evidence because we agree that any such error would be harmless for the reasons given by the Appellate Court. Because the Appellate Court's well reasoned opinion fully addresses the certified question, it would serve no purpose for us to repeat the discussion contained therein. We therefore adopt the Appellate Court's opinion as the proper statement of the issue of harmlessness and the applicable law concerning that issue. See, e.g., Recall Total Information Management, Inc. v. Federal Ins. Co., 317 Conn. 46, 51, 115 A.3d 458 (2015)

The judgment of the Appellate Court is affirmed.")

AC39878 - State v. Eddie N. C. (Risk of injury to child; sexual assault in first degree; "The defendant, Eddie N. C., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2); three counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2); and one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1). The defendant claims that the trial court improperly admitted (1) prior misconduct testimony, (2) statements made by the victim, A, to her mother, treating physicians, and a social worker under the medical diagnosis and treatment exception to the hearsay rule, and (3) opinion evidence regarding the ultimate issue of whether A had been sexually assaulted, which the defendant claims constitutes plain error. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36250 - State v. Bialowas (Manslaughter in second degree; evasion of responsibility in operation of motor vehicle in violation of statute ([Rev. to 2009] § 14-224 [a]); "The defendant was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-56 and evasion of responsibility in the operation of a motor vehicle in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 14-224 (a). He was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment, execution suspended after fifteen years, followed by five years of probation. He appealed, claiming that the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury that a defendant's reasonable fear of harm from the victim would be a defense to the charge of failing to stop and render assistance under § 14-224 (a). This court affirmed the defendant's conviction, holding that he had waived his challenge to the evasion of responsibility jury instruction under State v. Kitchens, 299 Conn. 447, 10 A.3d 942 (2016). See State v. Bialowas, 160 Conn. App. 417, 125 A.3d 642 (2015), remanded, 325 Conn. 917, 163 A.3d 1204 (2017). The defendant filed a petition for certification to the Supreme Court, arguing that this court improperly failed to conduct a plain error review of his claim of error with respect to the evasion of responsibility instruction. While the petition was pending, our Supreme Court released its decision in State v. McClain, 324 Conn. 802, 812, 155 A.3d 209 (2017), holding that a Kitchens waiver does not preclude appellate relief under the plain error doctrine. Thus, the Supreme Court granted the defendant's petition and remanded the matter to this court. State v. Bialowas, 325 Conn. 917, 163 A.3d 1204 (2017). In light of McClain, we review the defendant's claim pursuant to the plain error doctrine and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=757

AC38958 - Crocker v. Commissioner of Correction ("In his petition, he alleged that he illegally was placed in administrative segregation. The petitioner is now incarcerated in a facility in Massachusetts and thus no longer in administrative segregation in Connecticut. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that this court could provide him any practical relief in reviewing his claim, we conclude that his appeal is moot. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.")


Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=759

AC39220 - Housing Authority v. Rodriguez ("The defendant Romana Sanchez Rodriguez appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the Housing Authority of the Town of Greenwich (housing authority), on its summary process complaint. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the plaintiff's case because the plaintiff failed to serve her with a second pretermination notice pursuant to General Statutes § 47a-15, and that a grievance hearing decision barred the plaintiff from evicting her on the basis of alleged lease violations described in a prior pretermination notice that the plaintiff served on her within six months of the notice to quit. We disagree. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the court.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=758

AC40202 - In re Jacob W. (Termination of parental rights; "On appeal, the petitioner challenges the trial court’s conclusion that she had failed to prove the nonexistence of an ongoing parent-child relationship by clear and convincing evidence as required by General Statutes § 45a-717 (g) (2) (C).3 The petitioner argues, inter alia, that the trial court applied the incorrect legal test to determine whether such a relationship exists by focusing on the respondent’s actions rather than the children’s feelings.4 We agree that the trial court applied the incorrect test because the court legally and logically cannot have found both that a parent-child relationship exists and that the custodians prevented such a relationship from existing. Moreover, even under the test as applied, the trial court’s conclusions are inconsistent. Accordingly, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.")

AC40517 - In re Damian G. (Termination of parental rights; “The respondent claims that the court erroneously found that: (1) she failed to rehabilitate and (2) the termination of her parental rights was in the best interests of the children. We affirm the judgments of the trial court... The respondent has failed to demonstrate that any of the court’s findings were clearly erroneous. The court’s best interest determination rests on a variety of findings, several of which are not challenged on appeal.”)


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=753

SC19574 - CCT Communications, Inc. v. Zone Telecom, Inc.("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 and declaratory judgment. The case arises from a purchase agreement entered into by the parties in which the plaintiff was to provide various equipment, software, and services to the defendant for a telecommunications switch room located in Los Angeles, California. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court incorrectly rendered judgment in favor of the defendant on the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's counterclaim. Specifically, the plaintiff asserts that the trial court incorrectly (1) concluded that it breached the purchase agreement by filing a petition for bankruptcy protection under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (bankruptcy code); see 11 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq. (2012); (2) determined that a letter from the defendant dated February 5, 2007, was an effective exercise of the defendant's right to terminate the purchase agreement, (3) failed to award the plaintiff certain damages on count one of its complaint, and (4) awarded the defendant damages, costs, and attorney's fees in excess of a limitation of liability clause in the purchase agreement. We agree that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the plaintiff's bankruptcy petition constituted a breach of the purchase agreement and permitted the defendant to terminate that agreement. We therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - November 14, 2017

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=752

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXIX, No. 20, for November 14, 2017 is now available.

Contained in this issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 327: Orders (Pages 932 - 956)
  • Volume 327: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 178: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 63 - 111)
  • Volume 178: Memorandum Decisions (Pages 901 - 902)
  • Volume 178: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


Foreclosure Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=747

AC40186 - Sovereign Bank v. Licata ("In this protracted foreclosure matter, the defendant Cynthia Licata appeals following the trial court's denial of her motion asking the court to clarify the 'status' of a judgment of strict foreclosure that was rendered orally in open court, more than ten years earlier, and from the trial court's order making copies of the transcripts of the relevant underlying proceedings a part of the court file. The plaintiff Seven Oaks Partners, LP, filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the ground that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because the appeal is moot and the decisions from which the defendant appealed do not constitute appealable final judgments. The defendant opposes the motion to dismiss. Because we agree that there is no practical relief that can be afforded to the defendant in this matter due to the fact that title to the property at issue has long since passed unconditionally to the plaintiff, we grant the plaintiff's motion and dismiss the appeal as moot.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=748

AC39429 - Kellman v. Commissioner of Correction ("On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly rejected his claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Specifically, he asserts that his trial counsel, Richard Silverstein, rendered ineffective assistance because he (1) failed to meaningfully present and explain the state’s pretrial plea offers and (2) failed to consult with or present an expert at the petitioner’s trial regarding the extreme emotional disturbance defense. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=746

AC39621 - State v. Myers (Murder; "It has been long settled in our appellate procedure that an appellant must raise and analyze in his first and principal brief any matters necessary for the determination of his appeal, and cannot do so for the first time in his reply brief. The defendant, Ricardo O. Myers, was convicted, after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and two counts of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (5). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in excluding the video interview of a witness who was unavailable to testify. Because the defendant failed to brief any analysis of how the alleged erroneous ruling was harmful, until he filed a reply brief, his claim is unreviewable. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - November 7, 2017

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=744



Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=738

AC39060 - 21st Century North American Ins. Co. v. Perez ("This appeal concerns the cancellation of an automobile insurance policy. The plaintiff, 21st Century North America Insurance Company, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendants, Glenda Perez, Ariel Seda, Gregory C. Norsiegian, the administrator of the estate of Leoner Negron (administrator), Orlando Soto, Carmello Pacheco, Edgardo Contreras, Eric Valentin, John Skouloudis, and PV Holding Corporation (corporation). Because it allegedly complied with all applicable cancellation requirements contained in both the insurance policy and the General Statutes, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly failed to conclude that it validly had cancelled that policy. The plaintiff further claims that the court improperly applied the doctrine of substantial compliance to excuse nonpayment of the amount due to avert cancellation. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=737

AC39067 - Samakaab v. Dept. of Social Services ("In this employment discrimination action, the plaintiff, Hasan Samakaab, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, the Department of Social Services. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that insufficient facts were presented to support a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Land Use Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=741

AC38889 - Griswold v. Camputaro (Zoning enforcement action; "The would-be intervenors . . . appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered when the court, Vacchelli, J., denied their respective motions to intervene that were filed pursuant to General Statutes 22a-19 (a) (1). On appeal, the intervenors claim that it was improper for the court to deny their motions to intervene on the ground that there was no pending proceeding because (1) the plaintiff and the defendants manipulated the timing of the short calendar proceedings to their detriment, (2) they were denied their vested statutory rights under 22a-19 to be heard, and 3) the stipulated judgment at issue was not rendered in compliance with General Statutes 8-8 (n). Under the somewhat unusual procedural circumstances of this case in which our rules of practice were violated, we agree with the intervenors and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court denying the motions to intervene and remand the matter for further proceedings.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=736

AC38122 - Frauenglass & Associates, LLC v. Enagbare ("The self-represented defendant appeals from the award of attorney’s fees and interest. Specifically, she claims that the court improperly failed to consider (1) newly discovered evidence that the judgment had been obtained by fraud, (2) evidence that the plaintiff’s attorney, Robert H. Weinstein, committed a fraud by fabricating invoices and tampering with evidence, (3) her claim of a violation of General Statutes § 53a-155 (a) and (4) that the plaintiff’s conduct violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), § 42-110a et seq. We conclude that the defendant’s arguments in the present action constitute an improper collateral attack on the judgment in the underlying action and that she failed to challenge the propriety of the May 5, 2015 award of attorney’s fees and statutory interest. Last, her allegations of evidence of newly discovered fraud were not raised properly before the trial court and cannot be considered for the first time on appeal. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=735

AC39233 - Noze v. Commissioner of Correction ("In his amended petition, the petitioner claimed that his right to the effective assistance of counsel under the sixth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution was violated by trial counsel’s failure to warn him, clearly and unequivocally, of the mandatory deportation consequences of his guilty plea to the charge of possession of narcotics with intent to sell in violation of General Statutes § 21a-277 (a). Before this court, the petitioner claims that the habeas court erred in denying his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and later abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal from that denial. We conclude that the habeas court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal from its judgment, and thus we dismiss this appeal.")

AC39251 - Stephen J. R. v. Commissioner of Correction ("On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court improperly denied his petition for certification to appeal after erroneously concluding that his criminal trial counsel, Christopher Eddy, had provided effective assistance despite his decision not to consult with and present the testimony of an expert on false memory syndrome in child sexual assault cases. We conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal, and, accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=739

AC39051 - State v. Sienkiewicz ("The defendant, Pawel Sienkiewicz, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the state’s motion to dismiss his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. The defendant claims that the court erred in holding that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the merits of his petition and, therefore, erred in dismissing his petition for a writ of error coram nobis. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38017 - State v. Neary ("The defendant, Stephen Neary, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. On February 7, 2013, pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant pleaded nolo contendere to the charges of interfering with an officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a, assault of public safety personnel in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167c, and carrying a dangerous weapon in violation of General Statutes § 53-206. The defendant also admitted to violating conditions of a previously imposed probation. See General Statutes § 53a-32. On the same day, the court sentenced the defendant to a total effective sentence of seven years of incarceration, execution suspended after two and one-half years to serve, and two years of conditional discharge.")

AC36790 - State v. Jackson ("This criminal appeal returns to this court following a remand by our Supreme Court. State v. Jackson, 325 Conn. 917, 163 A.3d 617 (2017). On remand, the Supreme Court has directed this court to consider the merits of the claim of the defendant, Troy Jackson, that the trial court committed plain error in failing to provide a special accomplice credibility instruction to the jury. Id. We conclude that the defendant has not met his burden pursuant to the plain error doctrine and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38571 - State v. Torres ("The defendant, Julio Torres, was convicted of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a- 54a and was sentenced to fifty years of imprisonment. He appealed, claiming, among other things, that portions of the trial court’s instruction on reasonable doubt constituted plain error. The defendant also claimed that the cumulative effect of these portions of the instruction constituted plain error. This court affirmed the defendant’s conviction, holding that he waived his challenge to the reasonable doubt instruction under State v. Kitchens, 299 Conn. 447, 10 A.3d 942 (2011). See State v. Torres, 168 Conn. App. 611, 627–29, 148 A.3d 238 (2016). The defendant filed a petition for certification to appeal, claiming that this court improperly declined to review the reasonable doubt instruction for plain error. Our Supreme Court granted the petition and remanded the case to this court for consideration of his plain error claim in light of its recent decision in State v. McClain, 324 Conn. 802, 812–15, 155 A.3d 209 (2017), which held that a Kitchens waiver does not preclude appellate relief under the plain error doctrine. State v. Torres, 325 Conn. 919, 163 A.3d 618 (2017). After further review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court")

AC39841 - State v. Gill ("The defendant, Andre Gill, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a and 53a-8; carrying a revolver without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a); false statement in the second degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 53a-157b; and tampering with physical evidence in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-155 and 53a-8. On appeal, the defendant’s sole claim is that there was insufficient evidence to prove the element of specific intent necessary to support the murder conviction. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")