Recent Decisions

Connecticut Appellate Court

Moody v. Comm'r of Correction

Appeal Was Based On Ground Omitted In Certification Petition

A trial judge cannot be said to have abused his discretion when he was never on notice that he was being asked to exercise it.

Practice Areas: Appellate Law - Criminal

Connecticut Supreme Court

State v. Ruffin

No Conflicting Witness Argument Of Prosecutor Was Risky But Proper

The fifth amendment to the federal constitution prohibits prosecutors from commenting at trial on a defendant's right not to testify; but here, a reasonable jury would have understood the prosecutor's "no conflicting witness argument," viewed in context, as a commentary on the victim's veracity, not the defendant's silence.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Constitutional Law

Connecticut Supreme Court

State v. Johnson

Given Trial Court's Authority, No Need To Order Resentencing

Common sense and principles of judicial economy dictate that, where the reviewing court's judgment vacating a conviction and sentence for a lesser included offense on double jeopardy grounds leaving the remaining sentences intact, does not change the total effective sentence, the reviewing court should not order the trial court to resentence the defendant on the remaining convictions unless there is some evidence or other basis in the record to conclude that the reviewing court's judgment altered the original sentencing intent.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Appellate Law - Criminal , Constitutional Law

Connecticut Supreme Court

Planning and Zoning Comm'n of the Town of Monroe v. Freedom of Info. Comm'n

Pending Claims Exception Did Not Justify Executive Session

Connecticut General Statutes §1-200(6)(B) of the Freedom of Information Act allows public agencies to convene executive sessions as an exception to the general rule that meetings must be open to the public, to discuss "strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the public agency…is a party…" and for §1-200(6)(B) to apply, the agency either must be bringing or defending a prospective or pending lawsuit in court or some other legal action in an adjudicatory forum.

Practice Areas: Administrative Law

Statewide Grievance Committee

Lauria v. Krawitz

NY Attorney Allegedly Kept And Did Not Distribute Any Settlement Funds

An attorney who fails to protect and promptly distribute settlement funds to a client can violate of Rule 1.15(b) and (e) and engage in conduct that involves fraud, deceit and misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(3).

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board

Advisory Opinion No. 2015-2

Former Green Bank Worker Can Direct Own Private Business

A former employee of a quasi-public agency qualifies as a former "state employee" and is barred from representing anyone other than the state for compensation before the agency in which the employee served for one year after leaving service.

Practice Areas: Election and Political Law , Administrative Law , Labor and Employment , Hiring/Firing

Board of Mediation and Arbitration

Town of Stratford and IFPTE, Local 136

EMT Worker Discharged For 'Grossly Insubordinate Conduct'

A municipality has just cause to discharge a worker who allegedly exhibits grossly insubordinate conduct, fails to be truthful during an investigation, and displays irrational and threatening conduct.

Practice Areas: Administrative Law , Labor and Employment , Labor Law , Collective Bargaining Agreements , Hiring/Firing

United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

United States v. Azpurua

48 Months For Ponzi Scheme Was Substantively Reasonable

At sentencing, a court can consider the amount of harm allegedly caused to investors by the defendant's Ponzi scheme.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court

Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enter. v. Gallinaro

Debtor Alleged Credit To Gamble Violated Connecticut Gambling Law

Federal and tribal law, as opposed to state law, apply to gaming at Foxwoods Casino, and the tribal-state compact allows the Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise to extend credit to an individual.

Practice Areas: Native American Law , Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Lopez v. Cardenas-Mejia

Scooter Operator Argued Driver Did Not Keep A Reasonable Lookout

A court can find that an operator of a scooter failed to prove that a motor vehicle driver did not keep a reasonable lookout.

Practice Areas: Torts , Personal Injury , Motor Vehicles

Waterbury J.D., at Waterbury

Hurley v. Rizk

Plaintiff Alleged That Co-Workers Used Computer Without Permission

Allegations that co-workers, without plaintiff's permission, opened and read the plaintiff's personal notes and materials on a workplace computer can be sufficient to plead a cause of action for invasion of privacy.

Practice Areas: Torts , Emotional Distress , Intentional Torts , Labor and Employment

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Bynam v. Tweed New Haven Airport Authority

Employee's Personal Friend Was Not A Business Invitee

A friend who visits an employee at work is a licensee who is not on the premises for a business purpose, and he must take the premises as he finds them.

Practice Areas: Torts , Premises Liability , Licensees

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Girard v. Wells Fargo Bank

Part Performance Did Not Apply To Partially Signed Contract

A "real estate purchase contract" that is unsigned by the purported seller may not be enforceable, and the doctrine of part performance may not apply.

Practice Areas: Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Contracts , Interpretation

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Ballard v. Twin Lakes Condominium Unit Owners Ass'n Inc.

CUTPA Does Not Apply To Condo Association's Managerial Decisions

The Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act applies only to the entrepreneurial decisions of a condominium owners' association and does not apply to the managerial decisions.

Practice Areas: Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Contracts , Interpretation , Consumer Protection

Stamford/Norwalk J.D., at Stamford

Lederle v. Spivey

Plaintiff Won $30,000 For Costs To Defend Bad-Faith Appeal

A court that find that a defendant who prosecutes an appeal that lacks a factual or legal basis can be held responsible for another party's attorney fees.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery

Fairfield J.D., at Bridgeport

Disciplinary Counsel v. Bucci

Lawyer Who Has Been Disciplined 18 Times To Be Suspended Three Years

A court can suspend an attorney who violates the Rules of Professional Conduct and require that he obtain mental health treatment, before he applies for reinstatement.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

New London J.D., at New London

Burgess v. City of Norwich, Zoning Bd. of Appeals

Substantial Evidence Failed To Support Decision To Deny Variance

A court can vacate the decision of a board of appeals, if substantial evidence in the record fails to support the board's decision to deny a request to grant a variance.

Practice Areas: Land Use and Planning , Residential and Commercial Real Estate

Danbury J.D., at Danbury

Arrowhead Point Homeowners Ass'n Inc. v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of the Town of Brookfield

1st Impression On Private Road That Was Omitted From Grand List

An owner who applies for a variance is required to perform title searches of all property adjacent to the subject parcel, including privately owned roadways, even if the roadways are omitted from the municipal tax map or grand list.

Practice Areas: Land Use and Planning , Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Civil Procedure , Statute of Limitations

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Rizzo v. Perez

Sole Member Of Former Tenant Argued That Tenant Was Dissolved

When a landlord leases its premises to a limited liability company and the LLC dissolves and distributes its assets without paying rent, a landlord can assert a claim against a former member of the dissolved corporation pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §34-214.

Practice Areas: Landlord/Tenant Law , Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Business Entities , LLCs and LLPS

Fairfield J.D., at Bridgeport

Yazar v. Yazar

Divorce In Turkey Was Entitled To Practical Recognition And Comity

A dissolution decree entered in a foreign country can be entitled to practical recognition and comity in U.S. courts.

Practice Areas: Family Law

New London J.D., at Norwich

Smith v. Smith

Court Ordered Dad To Take Class To Learn About Childhood Diabetes

A court can order that a parent take a class to learn about childhood illness, so that he can properly care for his minor child when he exercises visitation.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Litchfield J.D., at Litchfield

Robaczynski v. Robaczynski

Former Wife Requested 22 Percent Of Husband's Severance Pay

Severance pay may not qualify as bonus income.

Practice Areas: Family Law

Hartford J.D., at Manchester, G.A. 12

State v. Jones

Defendant Argued State Deprived Her Of The Right To A Speedy Trial

When calculating the 12-month period for a speedy trial claim, a court can exclude the time required to determine whether the defendant is mentally competent.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Constitutional Law

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Charbonneau v. N.E.B. Construction LLC

Homeowners Won $200,000 PJR Against Home Construction Co.

A court can grant a request for a prejudgment remedy, if probable cause exists that plaintiff homeowners will prevail at trial against a construction company that built their residence, taking into account any defenses, counterclaims or setoffs.

Practice Areas: Contracts , Breach , Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Civil Procedure , Provisional Remedies

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Wnek v. Benavioes

YouTube Tape Of Plaintiff Was Not Prepared For Litigation

A tape of the plaintiff that appeared on YouTube and that was not prepared for litigation may not qualify as work product, for purposes of a motion in limine.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Discovery , Evidence , Admissibility

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Weinstein & Wisser P.C. v. Cornelius

Defendant Proved Marshal's 2007 Service Was Ineffective

Absent effective service of process, consent or waiver, a court does not obtain personal jurisdiction over a defendant.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Johnston v. Morgester

Attorney Who Alleged That Ex Made False Report Won $50,000 PJR

A court can grant a prejudgment remedy, if probable cause exists that a plaintiff will prevail on the merits at trial.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Provisional Remedies , Torts , Emotional Distress , Intentional Torts , Abuse of Process

United States District Court

Harty v. Bull's Head Realty

ADA Plaintiff Won $47,555 In Fees As 'Prevailing Party'

A reasonable client is presumed to hire a lawyer located near a courthouse, to minimize attorney travel time, and a prevailing party may not be entitled to compensation for a lawyer's time to travel to a settlement conference.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery , Civil Rights

United States District Court

Crawford v. City of New London

Civil-Rights Attorneys Won $200,154 In Excessive Force Case

A "prevailing party" in a §1983 civil-rights suit can be entitled to attorney fees.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery , Civil Rights

United States District Court

Barteca Restaurants LLC v. Milonga Arepas & Tapas Inc.

Restaurant Enjoined From Use Of Plaintiffs' 'Barcelona' Trademark

If plaintiffs establish that use of plaintiffs' well-established, registered trademark is likely to cause consumer confusion, loss of good will and irreparable harm, a court can grant injunctive relief and order defendant to refrain from use of plaintiffs' registered trademark on signs, menus, social media or marketing.

Practice Areas: Intellectual Property , Trademarks , Infringement (Trademark) , Consumer Protection

Connecticut Appellate Court

Bellini v. Patterson Oil Co.

Parties Correspondence Acted To Vary Terms Of Lease Provisions

Pursuant to their exchanges of correspondence, the parties effectively abrogated the terms of their original lease providing for automatic five year extensions of the lease term and formed a new agreement regarding the lease term.

Practice Areas: Landlord/Tenant Law

Connecticut Appellate Court

Sargent v. Sargent

Removal Of GAL Rendered Orders Challenged On Appeal Moot

Once the relation of parent and guardian ad litem was extinguished, orders relating to the context of the relationship were of no effect and controversy regarding those orders was moot.

Practice Areas: Family Law

Connecticut Appellate Court

Light v. Grimes

Legal Fee Award Was Reversed But Modification Motion Denial Upheld

Under the trial court's inherent authority, attorney fees were improperly awarded for defending against a motion for modification found wasteful and bordering on frivolous, but where the trial court did not find the claims entirely without color and asserted in bad faith.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Legal Profession , Attorney Fee Recovery

Connecticut Appellate Court

State v. Houghtaling

Landlord's Standing To Challenge Search As Cotenant Was Not Shown

The trial court did not err in denying a landlord's motion to suppress evidence obtained from the search of leased property used to grow marijuana, because the defendant failed to establish a reasonable expectation of privacy in the property.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Constitutional Law , Evidence

Connecticut Appellate Court

Congress Street Condominium Ass'n, Inc. v. Anderson

Strict Foreclosure Was Based On Invalid Condominium Fines

Providing a condominium owner an opportunity to be heard before a condominium association may impose fines is expressly required by Connecticut General Statutes §47-244(a)(11) and because the plaintiff association undisputedly failed to comply with the hearing requirement in the general statutes and its declaration and by laws, fines were invalidly assessed.

Practice Areas: Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

Connecticut Appellate Court

Chase Home Fin., LLC v. Morneau

Foreclosure Was Not Barred By Claimed Interest In Property

Although technical terms are unnecessary to effectuate a valid deed, a document placed on the land records indicating that it was not intended as a deed but that a deed would be forthcoming was not a valid conveyance of an interest in the property to raise genuine issues of material fact regarding title and preclude summary judgment as to liability in this foreclosure action.

Practice Areas: Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

Connecticut Supreme Court

Caraballo v. Electric Boat Corp.

Employers' Workers' Compensation Payments To Hospitals Considered

Prior to the effective date of Public Act 14-167, an employer's liability for hospital services is assessed based on the published rates the hospital is required to charge "any payer" under Connecticut General Statutes §19a-646a and not a determination by a workers' compensation commissioner of what it "actually costs" the hospital to render the services as provided in C.G.S. (Rev. to 2005) §31-294d(d).

Practice Areas: Social Services Law , Workers’ Compensation

Connecticut Supreme Court

State v. Taylor G.

8th Amendment Does Not Bar All Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years and five years did not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment for crimes committed by a juvenile when he was 14 and 15 years old.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Juvenile Law , Constitutional Law , Criminal Law

Connecticut Supreme Court

State v. Menditto

Erasure Act Applies To Marijuana Convictions Now "Decriminalized"

Following Public Act 11-71, codified at Connecticut General Statutes §21a-279a, possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana "now holds the same legal status as such minor civil violations as maintaining state records using unapproved paper, ink, or loose-leaf binders" and the change from a crime to a minor civil violation constitutes a decriminalization for purposes of the erasure statute in C.G.S. §54-142d.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law

Connecticut Supreme Court

Finkle v. Carroll

With One Right Defendant, Wrong Defendant Statute Did Not Apply

The wrong defendant statute, Connecticut General Statutes §52-593, did not apply to save an untimely second action, where the plaintiff could have recovered from the defendants in the original action based on the factual allegations and causes of action in the original complaint.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure

Statewide Grievance Committee

Glick v. Krawitz

NY Attorney Allegedly Did Not Promptly Distribute Settlement Fund

An attorney who allegedly misleads his client about the status of settlement proceeds and misuses his funds can violate Rule 8.4(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

Principe v. Holder

Petitioner Failed To Prove That Former Marriage Was Bona Fide

A marriage is bona fide if the marriage is genuine and one in which the parties intend to share life as husband and wife, as opposed to a marriage of convenience, intended to confer an immigration benefit.

Practice Areas: Immigration Law

United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

United States v. Castelin

Defendant Argued Jury Lacked Enough Evidence To Convict

Sufficient evidence exists to convict, if a reasonable jury could conclude as a result of testimony from the government witnesses that defendant knowingly joined and participated in a scheme to distribute drugs.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Evidence , Witnesses

United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

Chirag v. Mt Marida Marguerite Schiffahrts

Complaint Alleging Injuries From Somali Pirates Properly Dismissed

A court may dismiss a complaint brought by foreign citizens against foreign defendants when an adequate forum exists in another country and both private and public interests favor litigation in the other country.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Jurisdiction and Service of Process , Venue , Admiralty , International Law (Public)

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court

Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise v. Gallinaro

Debtor Alleged Credit Extension Violated Connecticut Gambling Law

Federal and tribal law, as opposed to state law, apply to gaming at Foxwoods Casino, and the tribal-state compact allows the Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise to extend credit to an individual.

Practice Areas: Native American Law , Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

Ansonia/Milford J.D.

Stewart v. Ciccaglione

Disinheritance Clause In Decedent's Trust Was Void Ab Initio

A court can find that a disinheritance clause in a trust was void ab initio, because the decedent was not particularly sophisticated and did not fully comprehend its ramifications and repercussions.

Practice Areas: Trusts and Estates

New Haven J.D., at Meriden

Howard v. Marion

Court Found Plaintiff's Unexpected Driving Maneuver Caused Collision

A court can credit testimony that the defendant, who was familiar with the location and could describe all the motor vehicles in the vicinity, was an alert and competent driver who was not responsible for a motor-vehicle accident, although his speed was elevated.

Practice Areas: Torts , Personal Injury , Motor Vehicles

Fairfield J.D., at Bridgeport

Colon v. Autozone Northeast Inc.

Plaintiff Failed To Prove Owner Did Not Provide Adequate Security

To prevail on allegations that defendant failed to provide adequate security, a plaintiff may be required to prove, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, that: (1) he was an invitee; (2) defendant was in control of premises; (3) defendant possessed notice of the risk; and (4) defendant's conduct placed plaintiff within the scope of the risk.

Practice Areas: Torts , Premises Liability , Invitees

New Britain J.D., at New Britain

Office of Consumer Counsel v. Pub. Util. Regulatory Comm'n

Evidence Failed To Support Decision To Award Rate Increase

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority can grant a premium rate of return to a water company that acquires a "nonviable" water company.

Practice Areas: Public Utilities

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Rousseau v. Statewide Grievance Comm.

Grievance Complainant Lacks Right To Appeal Grievance Decision

Connecticut law does not permit an individual who files a grievance complaint to appeal the decision of the Statewide Grievance Committee to the Connecticut Superior Court, if the grievance committee dismisses the complaint.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Middlesex J.D., at Middletown

Lamar Centr. Outdoor LLC v. Middletown Zoning Bd. of Appeals

Advertiser Sought To Replace Billboards With Electronic Boards

It is not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion for a zoning board of appeals to find that proposed electronic message boards constitute "flashing signs."

Practice Areas: Land Use and Planning

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Ciasullo v. Comm'r of Dep't of Envtl. Protection

Private Parties Lack Right To Seek Injunctive Relief On Overtime

Only the secretary of the Department of Labor can file an action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, to request injunctive relief for failure to pay overtime.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Employee Benefits , Wages and Hours

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Rodriguez v. Estefano

Apparent 1st Impression On Magistrate's Sanction Against State

A magistrate court exceeded its powers when it awarded financial sanctions against the state and ordered it to pay $300 to defendant.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Windham J.D., at Willimantic

In Re: Santa

Bi-Polar Mother Lost Parental Rights To Youngest Kids

A court can find that a mother with bi-polar disorder, who allegedly threatened to blow up a psychiatric facility in the past and more recently screamed at a therapist and threatened to harm a social worker, has not made adequate progress in recovering from mental health problems.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Stamford/Norwalk J.D., at Stamford

Fustini v. Fustini

Court Denied Wife's Request To Enforce Postnuptial Agreement

Absent evidence of financial disclosures and consideration, a court can deny a request to enforce a postnuptial agreement.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Stamford/Norwalk J.D., at Stamford

Zimmerman v. Padilla

1st Impression On Out-Of-State Nonparty Witness's Objection

A nonparty witness who resides in another state possesses standing to object to a defendant's application to appoint a commission to take her deposition in the other state and to seek a protective order, pursuant to Practice Book §13-5.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Discovery , Family Law

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Peterson v. Bornhorst

Former Family-Law Client Waived Attorney-Client Privilege

A client can waive the attorney-client privilege when he files a legal-malpractice action.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Discovery , Family Law , Evidence , Witnesses , Privileges

Waterbury J.D., at Waterbury

Mastropietro v. Am. Med. Response

Defense To Pay $1,370 To Plaintiff's Expert For Deposition

When ruling on the reasonableness of an expert's fee, a court may consider: (1) the area of expertise; (2) the expert's education and training; (3) prevailing rates; (4) the nature, quality and complexity of the discovery response; (5) the amount that the expert charged; (6) the amount that the expert charged in related matters; and (7) any other factors likely to assist the court.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Discovery , Evidence , Expert Witnesses

Stamford/Norwalk J.D., at Stamford

Deutsche Bank v. Sebastian Holdings Inc.

Bank Alleged Sole Shareholder Drained $1 Billion From Company

Under the law of Turks and Caicos, a plaintiff who seeks to pierce the corporate veil must prove control of the company by the individual defendant, and an impropriety that constitutes a misuse of the company as a device or façade, to conceal wrongdoing.

Practice Areas: Business Entities , Civil Procedure , Choice of Law

United States District Court

Martin v. Bailey

Part-Time SCSU Prof Failed To Prove 1st Amendment Retaliation

To establish a prima facie case of First Amendment retaliation, a plaintiff must prove: (1) he engaged in protected activity; (2) he suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) a causal connection existed between protected activity and the adverse employment action.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Constitutional Law

United States District Court

Dymskaya v. Orem's Diner of Wilton Inc.

Waitress Alleged Co-Worker Exposed Himself And Threatened To Shoot Her

A worker who alleges that a co-worker allegedly exposed himself and threatened to shoot her can possess a claim for hostile-work environment.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Discrimination , Sexual Harassment

United States District Court

United States v. Malcolm

Court Authorized Transportation And Lodging For Defendant Who Was Ill

A court can authorize transportation and lodging for a defendant who suffers from significant health problems, pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Health Law

United States District Court

Steginsky v. Xcelera Inc.

Minority Shareholder Plaintiff Sought To Certify Class Action

If the named plaintiff admits that she suspected a fraud before she sold her stock and sold anyway, because she needed the money, and no evidence exists that other class members suspected fraud, the named plaintiff's allegations will not be typical of those of the proposed class, as required to meet Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 requirements for class-action certification.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Class Actions , Securities and Federal Corporate Law

United States District Court

Briganti v. Connecticut Technical High Sch. Sys.

Plaintiff Did Not Waive Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege

A plaintiff who alleges only "garden variety" emotional distress may not waive the psychotherapist-patient privilege.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Discovery , Health Law

Connecticut Appellate Court

Saggese v. Beazley Co. Realtors

Real Estate Agent Did Not Violate Duty To Disclose Facts To Buyer

A real estate agent has no duty to follow the direction of an attorney representing a third party.

Practice Areas: Torts

Connecticut Appellate Court

Verrillo v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of the Town of Branford

Variances Lacked Legal Basis For Coastal Nonconforming Home

A variance is not a tool of convenience, but one of necessity and variances are not to be granted when a reasonable use already is present, or plainly is possible under the regulations, but an owner prefers otherwise.

Practice Areas: Land Use and Planning

Connecticut Appellate Court

Havis-Carbone v. Carbone

Plain Error Found In Granting Motion To Leave State With Child

The court's decision to permit the plaintiff to relocate to Texas with the child prior to conducting a hearing without emergent circumstances severely prejudiced the defendant and constituted plain error as it tended to undermine the public's confidence in our judicial system.

Practice Areas: Family Law

Connecticut Appellate Court

Yerinides v. Comm'r of Correction

No Prejudice Shown From Alleged Errors Of Trial Counsel

In the 2013 case of Carraway v. Commissioner of Correction, the Appellate Court declined to follow the prejudice standard articulated in the Connecticut Supreme Court's 1995 decision of Copas v. Commissioner of Correction, determining that the standard from the 1985 U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Hill v. Lockhart was controlling as a matter of federal constitutional law as recognized by the Connecticut Supreme Court, including in its 2008 decision in Washington v. Commissioner of Correction.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law

Connecticut Appellate Court

State v. Nowacki

Conviction For Emailing Nanny Violated 1st Amendment Rights

Criminalizing an email, even a contentious email, occurring within the context of a contract dispute simply because one party does not wish to communicate with the other violates the free speech rights of the email writer.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Constitutional Law

Connecticut Appellate Court

City of Norwich v. Norwich Harborview Corp.

No Plain Error In Approving Sale Occurring Without Filed Appraisal

The purpose of the appraisal procedure in foreclosure matters prescribed by Connecticut General Statutes §49-25 is to give the trial court guidance on the subsequent question of whether to approve the committee sale.

Practice Areas: Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

Connecticut Appellate Court

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Trustee v. Treglia

Motion For Summary Judgment Did Not Supplant Motion Upon Default

Summary judgment is inappropriate when the nonmoving party is in default.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

Connecticut Appellate Court

Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co., Trustee v. McKeith

Jurisdiction In Foreclosure Case Was Obtained By Published Notice

Under the plain terms of Connecticut General Statutes 52-68, allowing for publication notice of the institution of an action, compliance therewith "shall be deemed sufficient service and notice, and the court may proceed to a hearing . . ." and, here, the court properly issued an order of notice pursuant to C.G.S. §52-68 in this foreclosure action and the defendant did not establish a lack of personal jurisdiction when the judgment of strict foreclosure was rendered.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights

Statewide Grievance Committee

McKnight v. Nesi

Allegedly Attorney Conditioned Settlement On Waiver Of Grievance

An attorney who allegedly conditions settlement of a dispute on a party's agreement to waive any grievance procedure can violate Rule 8.4(4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Statewide Grievance Committee

Hartford J.D. v. Mathers

Allegedly Attorney's Conduct 'Might Be Considered Obstreperous'

The Statewide Grievance Committee can reprimand an attorney whose conduct "might be considered obstreperous," in violation of Rule 3.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Statewide Grievance Committee

Donlin v. O'Brien

Counsel Agreed To Consolidate Disciplinary Matters Against Attorney

The Statewide Grievance Committee can consolidate various grievance matters, for decision by the Connecticut Superior Court.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Statewide Grievance Committee

Cislo v. Steenson

Surrogate Attorney Allegedly Violated Conflict-Of-Interest Rule

A conflict of interest exists, if a significant risk exists that representation of a client will be materially restricted by an attorney's responsibilities to another client or by a personal interest of the lawyer.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Statewide Grievance Committee

Angeles-Vargas v. Gordon; Bowler v. Gordon

Attorney Who Allegedly Violated 8 Rules Of Conduct To Be Presented

The Statewide Grievance Committee can decide to consolidate various disciplinary matters for decision by the Connecticut Superior Court.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Statewide Grievance Committee

Aguero v. Hughes

Spanish-Speaking Client Was Not Informed When Attorney Left Firm

An attorney who allegedly does not attempt to provide a Spanish-speaking client with documents in Spanish and to inform the client that he has left his former law firm may not communicate adequately, in violation of Rule 1.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession

Compensation Review Board

Micale v. State of Conn. Dep't of Emergency Serv. and Pub. Protection

Fentanyl Overdose Death Was Linked To Compensable Injury

It is black letter law that when a physician provides treatment to an injured worker for a compensable injury and the treatment ultimately proves injurious, that the additional injuries resulting from the treatment are a compensable sequelae of the original injury.

Practice Areas: Social Services Law , Workers’ Compensation

Compensation Review Board

Hatcher v. State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center

Fair And Impartial Hearing Was Held By Replacement Commissioner

It is not the task of the Compensation Review Board, an appellate panel, to cull through the evidentiary record and determine which documents were part of the record and correspond to the documents appended to the claimant's brief when it was not indicated which, if any of the documents, were part of the evidentiary record and properly before the panel.

Practice Areas: Social Services Law , Workers’ Compensation

United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

Sloan v. United Tech. Corp.

Stray Remarks Were Insufficient To Prove Prima Facie Discrimination

Stray remarks that are either facially neutral or too removed from an adverse employment decision can be insufficient to establish a prima facie case of race discrimination.

Practice Areas: Labor and Employment , Discrimination , Race Discrimination

United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

Berg v. Sorbo

Officer Argued Probable Cause To Arrest Mayor's Assistant Existed

A police officer may be entitled to qualified immunity, if a reasonable police officer would have believed that probable cause existed to arrest.

Practice Areas: Civil Rights , Constitutional Law

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Segway v. Special Olympics Conn.

Segway Seeks Indemnification In $10 Million Personal-Injury Suit

Absent willfullness, gross negligence or reckless misconduct, an individual who volunteers for a §501(c)(3) entity can be immune under the federal Volunteer Protection Act.

Practice Areas: Torts , Personal Injury , Transportation

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Phillips v. Yale Med. Group

Mom Lacked Cause Of Action For Bystander Emotional Distress

Connecticut trial courts are divided on whether to recognize a cause of action for bystander emotional distress in the context of medical malpractice, when a mother allegedly witnesses her child's death.

Practice Areas: Torts , Emotional Distress , Medical Malpractice

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Hernandez v. Dep't of Transp.

Court Reduced Plaintiff's Award 50 Percent For Contributory Negligence

A court can reduce an award 50 percent, because a plaintiff was contributorily negligent.

Practice Areas: Torts , Personal Injury , Motor Vehicles , Damages

Hartford J.D., at Hartford

Diamond 67 LLC v. Oatis

No Proof Lawyers And Law Firm Engaged In Vexatious Conduct

A plaintiff that is unable to prove that defendants' allegedly wrongful conduct caused plaintiff's injury may not be able to prevail in an action in tort.

Practice Areas: Torts , Intentional Torts , Abuse of Process

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Atterberry v. Adm'r, Unemployment Compensation Act

Manager Discharged Worker Who Allegedly Was Rude To Customer

A worker who allegedly is rude and argumentative when speaking to a customer, who complained that he slipped and fell on a wet floor, may not be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Practice Areas: Social Services Law , Unemployment Compensation , Labor and Employment , Hiring/Firing

Fairfield J.D., at Bridgeport

William Raveis Real Estate v. Zajaczkowski

Broker Established Prospective Buyers Breached Broker Contract

A real estate broker can enforce a contract to serve as an exclusive broker, even if the broker's clients use another real estate agent when they purchase a new home.

Practice Areas: Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Contracts , Breach

Stamford/Norwalk J.D., at Norwalk

Harrell v. Shafran

$360K Awarded Against Lawyer Who Allegedly Failed To Provide Notice

At a hearing in damages, a court can find that a former client would have prevailed in the underlying suit, if proper legal notice had been provided, and that the former client would have received compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering.

Practice Areas: Legal Profession , Attorney Malpractice

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Pukonen v. Guilford Planning & Zoning Comm'n

P&Z Granted Special Permit That Zoning Regulations Did Not Require

If pertinent zoning regulations do not require a special permit, a court can exercise its discretion to dismiss an appeal of a planning and zoning commission's decision to grant a special permit.

Practice Areas: Land Use and Planning , Residential and Commercial Real Estate , Civil Procedure

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Ruff v. Yale-New Haven Hosp.

Plaintiff's Medical Expert Was Not Qualified To Testify

A nurse consultant who works part-time as a private duty nurse and who does not normally insert Foley catheters may not be qualified to testify as a "similar healthcare provider" about the allegedly negligent insertion of a Foley catheter.

Practice Areas: Health Law , Medical Malpractice , Evidence , Expert Witnesses

Middlesex J.D., at Middletown

Sweet v. Sweet

Family Magistrate Imputed Earning Capacity Of $35,000 To Husband

A court can find that a party who went on a leave of absence and accepted a job that paid less, so that he could care for another member of his family, failed to prove a reduction in earning capacity and is not entitled to modify support.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Stamford J.D., at Stamford

Montgomery v. Montgomery

Husband To Pay 33 Percent Of Oldest Child's College Expenses

A court can order a parent who lacks assets and accumulated significant debt to pay 33 percent of his child's college expenses, even though that parent allegedly lives paycheck to paycheck.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Middlesex J.D., at Middletown

Kutaeva v. Romakin

Despite Restraining Order, Court Awarded Russian Joint Custody

A court can reject claims that the parties are unable to co-parent successfully as a result of domestic violence and award joint custody.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Willimantic J.D. (Child Protection Session)

In Re: Jasper

35-Year-Old Mother Lost 8th Child Based On Predictive Neglect

A court can terminate the rights of a biological parent who suffers from profound mental health issues based on the doctrine of predictive neglect.

Practice Areas: Family Law , Custody and Child Support

Fairfield J.D., at Bridgeport

Kelly v. Trumbull Ethics Comm'n

Plaintiff Alleged Ethics Commission Violated His Due-Process Rights

Absent an enabling statute, prior case law in which an ethics commission is a defendant, or another indication of legislative intent that ethics commissions are independent body politics, an ethics commission lacks legal capacity to sue or be sued.

Practice Areas: Election and Political Law , Civil Procedure , Parties , Jurisdiction and Service of Process , Constitutional Law

New Britain J.D., at New Britain

Coscina v. Comm'r of Motor Vehicles

DUI Plaintiff Protested Rocky Hill Officer's Arrest In Wethersfield

Allegations that a police officer who arrested the plaintiff for allegedly operating under the influence was not in the officer's jurisdiction and that the arrest was illegal may not constitute grounds to appeal the suspension of the operator's driving license.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Motor Vehicles (Criminal)

New Britain J.D., at New Britain

Doe v. Rackliffe

Alleged Victim Of Sexual Assault Seeks To Use Pseudonym

In a sexual-assault case against a pediatrician, a court can find that a plaintiff's interest in privacy is greater than the public's interest in open judicial proceedings.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Parties , Torts , Emotional Distress , Intentional Torts , Assault , Medical Malpractice

New Haven J.D., at New Haven

Doe v. Bellis

Plaintiff Denied Permission To Use Pseudonym In Suit Against Lawyer

To prevail on a motion to use a pseudonym, a plaintiff may be required to prove that a substantial privacy interest exists that is greater than the public's interest in open judicial proceedings.

Practice Areas: Civil Procedure , Parties , Contracts , Breach , Legal Profession

United States District Court

United States v. Rowland

Rowland's Argument That Prosecutors Concealed Material Evidence Denied

Although Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 decision of the United States Supreme Court, requires the government to disclose evidence that supports a claim of innocence, it does not require far-reaching discovery after trial, based on conjecture.

Practice Areas: Criminal Law , Evidence