Connecticut Appellate Court
Przekopski v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 131 Conn. App. 178 (2011):
(Robinson, J.) The plaintiff appealed from judgment in favor of the defendant regarding the plaintiff’s improper use of his property and holding the plaintiff in contempt. The Appellate Court first declined to review the plaintiff’s claim that his activities did not violate a prior stipulated judgment that called for him to cease his improper activities and apply for a permit. When the permit was denied, the plaintiff continued his activities. The Appellate Court held that the claim would not be reviewed because the parties were presumed to waive their rights to further pursue claims under the stipulated judgment by entering into it knowing that it would resolve all claims and issues. Further, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in issuing an order that the plaintiff cease all unpermitted activities on his property. The plaintiff did not contest that his activities were nonpermitted, and also admitted that he had an inability to cease them. Lastly, the Appellate Court reversed the trial court’s award of sanctions and attorney’s fees to the defendant, as the plaintiff’s attorney did not have sufficient time to prepare a meaningful objection to the motion for the same. The court abused its discretion in denying his request for an extension of time to respond, as the attorney had only twenty-four hours from the time he received the motion to the time the court considered it.
Przekopski v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 131 Conn. App. 200 (2011):
(Robinson, J.) This case is related to the case found at 131 Conn. App. 178, as it concerns the same issues (a motion for contempt) on a different piece of property owned by the same plaintiff. The Appellate Court affirmed the granting of the defendant’s motion for contempt, and adopted the reasoning and conclusions of the related decision.
Lathrop v. Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., 131 Conn. App. 204 (2011):
(Lavery, J.) The trial court improperly granted the defendant’s summary judgment based on the statute of limitations. The plaintiff was injured when he tripped on a sunken concrete cap in the floor of a factory. The cap had been put in place by an engineering firm hired by the factory to perform environmental tests. The cap was used to cover the holes the firm drilled to test the soil. The Appellate Court held that the appropriate statute of limitations was seven years, via Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-584a, which applies to design or construction deficiencies of architects and engineers. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-584, which is a three-year statute of limitation for general tort claims, was not applicable.
Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Cornelius, 131 Conn. App. 216 (2011):
(Sullivan, J.) The defendant initially challenged this foreclosure action for improper personal jurisdiction. After the trial court had ordered a foreclosure by sale of the defendant’s property, the defendant paid all amounts due and the plaintiff filed a satisfaction of judgment. The Appellate Court held that the satisfaction of judgment did not render the defendant’s later appeal moot, as the defendant had challenged personal jurisdiction, and he could obtain practical relief via restitution. However, on the merits, the Court disagreed with each of the defendant’s claims. The trial court properly found the defendant liable for interest and costs resulting from the plaintiff’s rejection of his tender, as the same was insufficient to meet the amount of the outstanding judgment against him. Additionally, the trial court did not improperly consider the plaintiff’s motion to cite in another party prior to ruling on the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Cadle Co. v. D’Addario, 131 Conn. App. 223 (2011):
(Gruendel, J.) The plaintiff sought to recover on a promissory note signed by the estate of which the defendants were executors. The defendants filed a counterclaim, alleging abuse of process, vexatious litigation, and CUTPA violations. The trial court initially struck the counterclaim, but later reconsidered the CUTPA claim, and entered summary judgment in the plaintiff’s favor. The plaintiff’s claims were then tried to a jury, which rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The trial court entered judgment on the verdict, from which the defendant appealed. The Appellate Court held that the trial court properly denied the motion to strike the plaintiff’s prayer for relief, as it was legally sufficient. The defendant’s counterclaim as to vexatious litigation and abuse of process was properly stricken, as the defendant’s did not prove that the plaintiff improperly attempted to remove them as executors of the estate. The trial court erred in later allowing the CUTPA claim to be reconsidered, as the defendant’s did not allege an ascertainable loss sufficient to rise to a CUTPA violation. The trial court also erred in awarding statutory postjudgment interest under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 37-3a, as the note itself provided for postjudgment interest, and the two cannot be combined. Lastly, the trial court erred in holding that the plaintiff was not entitled to a delinquency charge provided for in the note, as the charge was a default interest rate, not an improper late fee.
Ridgefield Housing Authority v. Ridgefield Water Pollution Control Authority, 131 Conn. App. 251 (2011):
(Dupont, J.) The plaintiff and defendant had a PILOT agreement pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 8-119gg. When the defendant charged the plaintiff a fee to hook up its buildings to the sewers, the plaintiff appealed, claiming that the fee was improper under the PILOT agreement. The trial court agreed, holding that the fee was an assessment, not a connection fee, and ordered the defendant to cease charging further payments and to refund the portion of the fees already paid. On appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did have jurisdiction, as the disagreement was over the applicability of the PILOT agreement, rather than a dispute of the fee schedule itself. Further, the trial court properly concluded that the fee was a special benefit assessment, which the plaintiff was exempt from paying under the PILOT agreement.
Cloughtery v. Clougherty, 131 Conn. App. 270 (2011):
(DiPentima, C.J.) The defendant husband appealed, seeking plain error review of a trial court order incident to the dissolution of his marriage that allowed the wife to move to Texas with the parties minor child. The Appellate Court affirmed the order, holding that it did not amount to such egregious error as to constitute plain error. The Court looked to the testimony of the guardian ad litem regarding the best interest of the child in finding that the court did not err in allowing the mother to bring the child to Texas.
Ferrucci v. Middlebury, 131 Conn. App. 289 (2011):
(Gruendel, J.) The plaintiff resigned from his job as a police officer with the defendant town prior to attaining 25 years of service or the age of 55, which was required under his agreement with the town to receive full retirement benefits. Years later, the town informed him that he would only be eligible to receive a reduced retirement benefit amount because of this. The plaintiff filed suit, and the trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The Appellate Court affirmed, holding that the agreement unambiguously requires 25 years of service or reaching age 55 while employed by the town to receive full benefits, neither of which the plaintiff did. Further, the Court affirmed summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s claim of promissory estoppel. In relying on a letter sent from the town’s actuary indicating that he would be eligible for the full benefit, the plaintiff claimed he made alternate retirement plans and should then receive the full benefit. The court disagreed, however, and found that because the actuary had no authority to confer retirement benefits on the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s reliance on the letter was unreasonable and not grounds to receive full benefits.
Caciopoli v. Lebowitz, 131 Conn. App. 306 (2011):
(Beach, J.) The plaintiff sued his defendant neighbor after neighbor cut down trees and plantings on the plaintiff’s property without ascertaining where exactly the property boundary was. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of the plaintiff. First, the Court held that the timber trespass statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-560, does not prohibit damages equaling the diminution in value to the property trespassed upon. Further, the court held that the three-year statute of limitations for trespass, specifically § 52-577, was applicable to claims similar to this one. Additionally, the defendant’s planting of 3 trees on the property without the plaintiff’s input or consent did not constitute a sufficient special defense of waiver or equitable estoppel. The trial court also properly found the element of intent proven, as the defendant’s acts on the plaintiff’s land were intentional and the plaintiff was actually harmed. Lastly, the trial court properly allowed the plaintiff’s real estate appraiser to testify as an expert, and the defendant’s claim that her report contained errors went to the weight of the evidence, not to admissibility.
Connecticut Appellate Court
Cohen v. Roll-A-Cover, LLC, 131 Conn. App. 433 (2011):
(West, J.) The plaintiff distributor sued the defendant manufacturer for losses in connection with his trying to obtain an exclusive distributorship of the defendant’s product. The defendant had made factual misrepresentations and told material untruths during the negotiation process, upon which the plaintiff relied. When the deal fell apart, the plaintiff sued for fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and inducement and for violations of the business opportunity act and CUTPA. As to the misrepresentation and inducement counts, the Appellate Court held that the evidence in the record supported the trial court’s findings for the plaintiff. The Court also held that the trial court properly found that the defendant had violated the business opportunity act, as found in §36b-60 et seq. First, despite contractual language attempting to take the deal out of the purview of the business opportunity act, when read as a whole, the contract language is clear and unambiguous in that the intent of the parties was to create a new business. Further, the Court held that the plaintiff did not have to show a ascertainable financial loss within Connecticut for the defendant to be liable for damages under CUTPA. The loss sustained in New Jersey was sufficient to prove the CUTPA violation. Lastly, the Appellate Court held that the defendant’s agent was personally liable for CUTPA damages, as he personally made misrepresentations and engaged in tortuous conduct.
J & E Investment Co., LLC v. Athan, 131 Conn. App. 471 (2011):
(DiPentima, C. J.) The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision that the defendant’s mortgage took priority over the plaintiff’s mortgage in a foreclosure by sale. The Appellate Court held that the appeal was interlocutory, and dismissed it as moot. Further, the Appellate Court held that the trial court was not divested of its authority to open the judgment of foreclosure merely because the court clerk failed to notify the parties of the judge’s decision to stay the law days until he had fully considered the motion to open. The law days had, in fact, been stayed, and title to the property had not yet vested in the plaintiff.
Litwin v. Ryan, 131 Conn. App. 558 (2011):
(Beach, J.) Mr. L, the plaintiff’s decedent, left stock in his will to his caretaker. The plaintiff administrator sought to have that bequest invalidated. A motion to intervene was filed by the beneficiary of Mr. L’s deceased wife’s estate, arguing that Mr. L’s wife should have been the sole beneficiary of his estate, and because she was entitled to a portion of his wife’s estate, she had a claim to the stock. The motion to intervene was properly denied, as the intervenor did not make a showing sufficient to prove the four prongs necessary for intervention, specifically: (1) timely intervention; (2) a direct and substantial interest in the litigation; (3) a showing that the intervenor’s interest in the litigation would be impaired without his involvement; and (4) that his interest is not represented adequately by a party to the litigation. Because the would-be intervenor here baldly alleged these prongs without showing proof of them, her motion was properly denied.