Hernandez v. Farahani
A court can award treble damages, for statutory theft, against a business partner who allegedly admits that he wrote a check to himself, after he stole a check without his partner's permission. In November 2010, the plaintiff and the defendant allegedly agreed to operate a used car business in Vernon. Each owned 50 percent of the business, and each signed a personal guaranty. The defendant allegedly sold cars and kept the proceeds for himself, and the defendant's customers returned for repairs that the defendant had promised. The defendant allegedly wrote a check to himself, after he stole a check, and withdrew money from a bank account, without permission from the plaintiff. He also complained that he was not an equal partner and allegedly broke furniture and threw things at the plaintiff. The plaintiff arranged to change the locks, to keep the defendant away, and sold the business. The plaintiff sued the defendant, who did not respond to requests to admit, which were deemed to be admitted. The defendant effectively admitted that he took funds from a company bank account, and the court found that the plaintiff proved allegations of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The defendant also breached his fiduciary duty when he allegedly sold cars and kept the proceeds, and the customers returned for repairs that the defendant had promised. The plaintiff proved statutory theft, because the defendant effectively admitted that he allegedly wrote a check to himself, after he stole a check, without the plaintiff's permission, and the court awarded treble damages, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §52-564. The plaintiff proved that the defendant engaged in unfair trade practices in violation of CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The court awarded the plaintiff damages in the amount of $48,165. The plaintiff also requested attorneys' fees. The court approved $225 per hour for the plaintiff's attorney, who is able, experienced and has a commendable reputation. The court approved the plaintiff's request for 43.9 hours of legal work and reasonable attorneys' fees of $9,877. The court granted judgment to the plaintiff in the amount of $58,043.