Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court

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Exercising jurisdiction over Defendant-insurer under the circumstances of this case was permitted by Connectictut’s corporate long arm statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 33-929(f)(1), and comported with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendant issued an automobile insurance policy covering a vehicle driven by Insured. The policy was written in New York at Defendant’s principal place of business, and Defendant did not direct or participate in any business transactions in Connecticut at the time. The coverage territory of the policy included Connecticut. Insured’s vehicle later collided with a vehicle occupied by Plaintiffs. A judgment was rendered against Insured in favor of Plaintiffs. Defendant failed to defend Insured or to indemnify him for the judgment rendered against him. Plaintiffs then brought this action against Defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s agreement to defend and indemnify Insured established personal jurisdiction under the long arm statute and that subjecting Defendant to the jurisdiction of this state comported with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. View "Samelko v. Kingstone Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court rendering judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its claim of unjust enrichment. On appeal, Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim was barred by collateral estoppel, that Plaintiff’s recovery was precluded by law and the terms of an agreement between the parties, the trial court’s jury instructions were improper, and the trial court erred in excluding certain evidence. In affirming, the Court held that many of Defendant’s arguments were unpreserved, inadequately briefed, or both, and that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his assignments of error. View "MacDermid, Inc. v. Leonetti" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court in favor of Plaintiff against Defendants, Joan Frank and George Frank, holding that there was no final judgment as to George, and therefore, the Appellate Court lacked jurisdiction over Defendants’ joint appeal. Plaintiff filed this action alleging common-law enforcement of a foreign default judgment and seeking recovery under theories of breach of contract and quantum meruit. The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff on count one against George and on count two against Joan. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, rejecting Defendants’ claims on appeal on the merits. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court’s failure to dispose of either the contract count or the quantum meruit count as to George resulted in the lack of a final judgment, and therefore, the Appellate Court should have dismissed Defendants’ joint appeal. View "Meribear Productions, Inc. v. Frank" on Justia Law

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The thirty-day deadline provided by Practice Book 11-21, which governs motions for attorney’s fees, is directory rather than mandatory, thus affording a trial court discretion to entertain untimely motions. In this contract and promissory estoppel action, the trial court rendered judgment for Plaintiff. The Appellate Court reversed and remanded to the trial court with direction to render judgment in favor of Defendant. Defendant filed a motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-150bb. The trial court denied the motion on the basis that the motion was not timely. The Appellate Court reversed, determining that the thirty day deadline set forth in Practice Book 11-21 is directory. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Practice Book 11-21 is directory and therefore affords the trial court discretion to entertain untimely motions for attorney’s fees in appropriate cases; and (2) the Appellate Court properly remanded the case for a hearing on Defendant’s motion. View "Meadowbrook Center, Inc. v. Buchman" on Justia Law

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At issue was what sort of “specific agreement” is required under DiLullo v. Joseph, 792 A.2d 819 (Conn. 2002), to overcome DiLullo’s presumption that a landlord’s insurer has no right of subrogation to bring an action against a tenant for damage the tenant caused to the rented property. The lower courts in this case concluded that it was sufficient for the lease to allocate to the tenant responsibility for damage caused by the tenant and to require the tenant to obtain insurance even without a specific agreement authorizing subrogation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an express agreement that the tenant will bear responsibility for his or her negligence and needs to obtain his or her own insurance to cover that responsibility is the kind of “specific agreement” that will overcome DiLullo’s presumption against subrogation; and (2) the parties in this case made a specific agreement sufficient to overcome the application of DiLullo’s presumption against subrogation, and allowing subrogation was fair and consistent with the doctrine of equitable subrogation. View "Amica Mutual Insurance Co. v Muldowney" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s complaint and Defendant’s counterclaim for damages and declaratory judgment. This case stemmed from a purchase agreement entered into by the parties in which Plaintiff was to provide various equipment and services to Defendant for a telecommunications switch room. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court incorrectly concluded that Plaintiff breached the purchase agreement by filing a petition for bankruptcy protection under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code; and (2) the trial court erred in determining that Defendant was within its rights to terminate the purchase agreement upon Plaintiff’s initiation of bankruptcy proceedings. View "CCT Communications, Inc. v. Zone Telecom, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant on both Plaintiff’s complaint seeking recovery on six promissory notes and on Defendant’s counterclaim alleging a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). On appeal, Plaintiff challenged only the scope of the Appellate Court’s remand order, arguing that the court erred in ordering a new trial rather than restricting the remand proceedings to a hearing in damages. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court in part, holding that a new trial was unnecessary because Defendant lacked standing to pursue a claim alleging a violation of CUTPA. View "Channing Real Estate, LLC v. Gates" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with larceny in the third degree as an accessory and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree. Defendant moved to dismiss the charges on the basis of the State’s prior entry of a nolle prosequi on the same charges. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the entry of a nolle on those charges and nolles on charges in three other cases was part of an agreement between the State and Defendant contemplating a global disposition supported by consideration. Therefore, the appellate court concluded that Defendant’s prosecution in the present proceeding was barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the agreement was ambiguous as to the parties’ intent and therefore must be construed in Defendant’s favor as a global disposition. View "State v. Kallberg" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff were a class of state employees and retirees who were enrolled in an Anthem Insurance group health insurance plan at the time of the 2001 demutualization of Anthem Insurance Companies. Plaintiffs brought suit against former Governor John Rowland, the State, Anthem Insurance, and other insurance company defendants alleging that their participation in the plan entitled them to membership in Anthem Insurance and a share of the demutualization proceeds. Plaintiffs claimed that Anthem Insurance and the other insurance company defendants breached their contractual obligations by not paying Plaintiffs for their membership interests and instead distributing their share of the proceeds to the State. The Supreme Court concluded that Plaintiffs’ claims against Rowland and the State were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity or otherwise should have been dismissed. After a trial, the trial court rendered judgment for the remaining defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court correctly concluded that the relevant contract provisions were ambiguous as to Plaintiffs’ eligibility for membership in Anthem Insurance and their entitlement to a share of the demutualization proceeds and properly considered extrinsic evidence to determine their meaning. View "Gold v. Rowland" on Justia Law

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Contractor and Homeowner entered into an agreement whereby Contractor agreed to furnish materials and supply labor in connection with renovations to Homeowner’s residence. After the renovation project was largely complete, the parties began to dispute the amounts that Homeowner owed Contractor. Contractor then brought this action claiming, inter alia, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Homeowner raised the special defense that Contractor’s claims were barred because the agreement did not comply with the Home Improvement Act. In response, Contractor argued that Homeowner was precluded from relying on the Act because his refusal to pay Contractor was in bad faith. The trial court agreed with Contractor and rendered judgment for Contractor. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Homeowner did not act in bad faith, and therefore, the trial court improperly found that Homeowner was barred from invoking the protection of the Act. Remanded with direction to render judgment for Homeowner. View "Burns v. Adler" on Justia Law