Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding that Defendants had trespassed on property that Plaintiff owned. When Plaintiff commenced this action alleging trespass Defendants claimed that Plaintiff could not establish its ownership or possessory interest in the property on which Defendants were building. The trial court ruled in favor of Plaintiff and issued a permanent mandatory injunction ordering Defendants to remove structures from Plaintiff’s property that were not authorized by the permits issued to Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff owned the subject property, and (2) the scope of the trial court’s injunctive relief was not overly broad. View "FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. v. Stewart" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to Defendants on the grounds that Plaintiff’s action was barred by governmental immunity as a matter of law. Plaintiff, administratrix of the estate of Elsie White, brought this action against Defendants, constables in the town of Westbrook, alleging that Defendants’ negligence was the proximate cause of White’s accidental drowning. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendants. In reversing, the Appellate Court concluded that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendants’ conduct fell within the identifiable person, imminent harm exception to governmental immunity. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the Appellate Court erred in determining that a jury reasonably could find that White was an identifiable person subject to imminent harm for purposes of abrogating Defendants’ governmental immunity. View "Brooks v. Powers" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the trial court erred in determining that Plaintiff proved the imminent harm to identifiable persons exception to the defense of governmental immunity with respect to injuries he sustained when other students ran with a pair of scissors in the auditorium of his school. Plaintiff filed suit against the City of New Haven, the Board of Education of the City of New Haven, and the Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools seeking damages for, inter alia, negligent supervision of students. The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff on his negligent supervision claim. The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the trial court, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to prove that Defendants’ conduct subjected an identifiable person to imminent harm; and (2) the trial court implicitly granted Defendants’ request to amend their answer to plead governmental immunity as a special defense. View "Martinez v. New Haven" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the trial court erred in determining that Plaintiff proved the imminent harm to identifiable persons exception to the defense of governmental immunity with respect to injuries he sustained when other students ran with a pair of scissors in the auditorium of his school. Plaintiff filed suit against the City of New Haven, the Board of Education of the City of New Haven, and the Superintendent of New Haven Public Schools seeking damages for, inter alia, negligent supervision of students. The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff on his negligent supervision claim. The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the trial court, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to prove that Defendants’ conduct subjected an identifiable person to imminent harm; and (2) the trial court implicitly granted Defendants’ request to amend their answer to plead governmental immunity as a special defense. View "Martinez v. New Haven" on Justia Law

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A duty of confidentiality arises from the physician-patient relationship, and unauthorized disclosure of confidential information obtained in the course of that relationship for the purpose of treatment gives rise to a cause of action sounding in tort against the health care provider, unless the disclosure is otherwise allowed by law. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court entering judgment in favor of Defendant, Avery Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C., on Plaintiff’s claims of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on these counts because the court improperly concluded that Defendant, as a health care provider, owed Plaintiff no duty of confidentiality. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant violated the duty of confidentiality under the facts of this case. View "Byrne v. Avery Center for Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C." on Justia Law

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In this case arising from four deaths from a house fire the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court concluding that a jury reasonably could find that the municipal defendants were potentially liable pursuant to Connecticut’s municipal liability statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-557n(b)(8). A mother and her three children lost their lives in a fire in a Bridgeport public housing complex. Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 29-305(b), the Bridgeport fire marshal’s office is required to conduct annual inspections of all multifamily residential units within Bridgeport. Plaintiff brought this action against the Bridgeport Fire Department and five Bridgeport city officials alleging that the decedents died as a result of Defendants’ negligent failure to inspect the smoke detection equipment in their unit for compliance with applicable fire safety regulations and codes. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that section 52-557n afforded them immunity. The Appellate Court reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a jury, considering all of the relevant circumstances, reasonably could find that Defendants demonstrated “a reckless disregard for health or safety under all the relevant circumstances,” and therefore, that they were potentially liable under section 52-557n(b)(8). View "Williams v. Housing Authority of City of Bridgeport" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether an insurer was obligated to indemnify a business owner under a personal insurance policy for liability arising form his false imprisonment of his company’s employee at her workplace. The business owner appealed, challenging the appellate court’s determination that such liability fell under the business pursuits exclusion to coverage under his personal umbrella policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) neither the appellate court nor the trial court employed the correct standard for determining whether the business owner’s tortious conduct was an occurrence “arising out of” the business pursuits of the insured; (2) remand was necessary to determine whether the business pursuits exception applied under the correct standard; and (3) Plaintiffs could not prevail on their alternative grounds regarding other exclusions and public policy as a matter of law. View "Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Pasiak" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment for the Town of Hebron on this complaint brought by Plaintiffs seeking damages for a temporary taking, temporary nuisance, and tortious interference with Plaintiffs’ business expectancies. The trial court concluded that Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata because they arose out of the same operative facts as Plaintiffs’ earlier-filed claim for injunctive relief against the Town. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to identify a sufficiently compelling reason to exempt their claims from the preclusive effect of res judicata. View "Wellswood Columbia, LLC v. Town of Hebron" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s judgment in favor of Defendant in light of this court’s decision in Sepega v. DeLaura, __ A.3d ___ (Conn. 2017). Plaintiff, a state trooper, sued Defendant hospital for personal injuries he sustained while subduing an emotionally disturbed person who had been committed to Defendant’s custody. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion to strike Plaintiff’s original complaint on the ground that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the firefighter’s rule. Plaintiff then filed a substitute complaint pursuant to Practice Book 10-44. The trial court sustained Defendant’s objection to the substitute complaint and rendered judgment accordingly. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the new allegations in the substitute complaint materially differ from those in the original complaint for purposes of preserving Plaintiff’s right to appeal after repleading pursuant to Practice Book 10-44; (2) as this court has recently clarified in Sepega, decided today, the firefighter’s rule does not extend beyond claims of premises liability; and (3) the trial court’s decision to sustain Defendant’s objection to the substitute complaint in this case was improper because Plaintiff alleged a valid cause of action. View "Lund v. Milford Hospital, Inc." on Justia Law

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The firefighter’s rule should not be extended beyond claims of premises liability so as to bar a police officer from recovering, under theory of ordinary negligence, from a homeowner who is also an alleged active tortfeasor. Plaintiff, a municipal police officer, sued Defendant, arguing that Defendant had negligently “created conditions which mandated that Plaintiff forcibly enter the premises in order to prevent harm” and resulted in Plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiff did not make any claim that his injuries were caused by a defect in the premises. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion to strike and then granted judgment for Defendant, concluding that Plaintiff’s claim was barred by the firefighter’s rule. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the firefighter’s rule does not apply to general negligence claims. View "Sepega v. DeLaura" on Justia Law