• Connecticut Appellate Court
  • Connecticut Appellate Court
  • AC 34042
  • Jan 22 2013 (Date Decided)
  • DiPentima, J.

A judgment in favor of a party on both an express and an implied in law contract does not constitute reversible error in every instance, although the plaintiff cannot receive a double recovery, as the Appellate Court stressed in the 2006 case of MD Drilling & Blasting, Inc. v. MLS Construction, LLC.  The plaintiff, 300 State, LLC commenced this action alleging breach of lease, quantum meruit and unjust enrichment against Diarmuid Hanafin, doing business as Hanafin's. The defendant filed an answer and special defense claiming a setoff, found unproven. The plaintiff presented evidence of two billing notices totaling $47,474.99 owed by the defendant. The court found no evidence supported a legal services charge of $1072.50 in that total and awarded the plaintiff $46,402.49 for the defendant's "occupancy of the leased premises" under the breach of lease and quantum meruit counts. The defendant appealed claiming that the court improperly awarded damages for his use and occupancy of the premises because the plaintiff failed to introduce any evidence and the court did not find the reasonable value of the premises. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The trial court properly rendered judgment for the plaintiff on its breach of lease claim. The defendant interpreted the judgment as awarding use and occupancy damages under both counts and assumed that any breach of lease finding was improper as a result of the mutually exclusive nature of the breach of lease and quantum meruit counts. However, under Connecticut case law, the court's judgment for the plaintiff on both claims did not constitute reversible error and was harmless because the plaintiff produced sufficient evidence to support the judgment under either count. The defendant contended that the court improperly found use and occupancy damages and did not find a breach of lease. This reading and interpretation of the judgment was fatally flawed. The court's use of the phrase "occupancy of the leased premises" was not a term of art under C.G.S. §47a-3c, but concerned the defendant's possession of the property. The court described the property as the "leased premises" and referenced the first count of the complaint which alleged a breach of lease claim. Thus, the trial court found that the defendant breached the lease and awarded damages accordingly.