Ouellette, Deganis & Gallagher LLC v. Trendowski
An attorney who files a grievance complaint against another attorney is not entitled to absolute immunity, pursuant to Rioux v. Barry. Allegedly, the defendant attorney, Jan Trendowski, filed a grievance complaint against an associate with the law firm of Ouellette, Deganis & Gallagher LLC. The grievance complaint was dismissed, and Ouellette, Deganis filed a complaint against Trendowski and alleged vexatious litigation. Trendowski moved to dismiss the civil complaint and argued that he is entitled to immunity for his conduct in connection with a grievance complaint, pursuant to Field v. Kearns, a decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. Ouellette, Deganis objected that the Connecticut Supreme Court overruled Field v. Kearns in a 2007 decision, Rioux v. Barry. In Rioux, the court wrote, "It is unnecessary and undesirable to extend the additional protection afforded by the doctrine of absolute immunity to defendants in vexatious litigation claims." The Rioux court added, "The holding of Field is inconsistent with the holding of this opinion." The Superior Court rejected the defendant attorney’s claim that the Rioux court did not overrule Field. The 2009 edition of Black’s Law Dictionary defines the term "inconsistent" as "incompatible with another fact or claim." Because Rioux overruled Field, the court denied the defendant attorney’s motion to dismiss the vexatious litigation claim.