Lachira v. Sutton and Sutton Esquires
In the 1932 case of Mlynar v. A.H. Merriman & Sons, Inc., the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that "[w]hen testimony is thus in conflict with indisputable physical facts, the facts demonstrate that the testimony is …untrue, and leave no real question of conflict of evidence for the jury…" Minerva Lachira commenced this action against James Sutton and Stanford Guy Sutton, executor of the estate of Stanford H. Sutton, the plaintiff's former landlord, alleging common law trespass, battery and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, C.G.S. §42-110a. The action concerned an incident in which James Sutton went to the plaintiff's apartment to supervise repairs being made by Graham Leavey and began photographing damage. The plaintiff told James Sutton to leave. Both called the police. The plaintiff claimed that Sutton "barged" into her apartment without her permission and hurt her wrist. Sutton and Leavey told the officer they entered with the plaintiff's permission. The officer, a certified paramedic, observed no signs of injury. Hours later, the plaintiff was treated at a hospital for visible redness to her arm. She went to the police station for photographs of her injury. Following trial, the jury returned a verdict for the defendants. The court denied the plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict. The plaintiff appealed, claiming that the court abused its discretion in denying her motion because the verdict was against the weight of the evidence and juror misconduct deprived her of a fair trial. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The rule in Mlynar did not oblige the court to set aside the verdict. The physical evidence did not indisputably prove the plaintiff's version of the incident. All the evidence of the injury on her arm established was that she sustained those injuries, not how and when they occurred. The jury heard that the plaintiff had a perjury conviction and her trial testimony and statement to police were inconsistent. Her testimony was contradicted by the responding officer, Sutton and Leavey. The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion based on juror misconduct. A security video captured a juror's gesture that the plaintiff claimed showed support for Sutton. The trial court found that there was no juror misconduct. The juror appeared to be adjusting his glasses.