Here’s a look at the second week of the Supreme Court’s 7th Term:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Court hears three cases today. The first is State v. Schovanec, SC 19851, which is an appeal by a defendant who was convicted of stealing a credit card and using it at a gas station. The defendant claims that the double jeopardy clause prohibits his conviction for larceny where he was also convicted for identity theft and illegal use of a credit card. The second case is Lucenti v. Laviero, SC 19723, where the Court will consider the standard to be applied when a plaintiff invokes the exception to the Workers Compensation Act’s exclusivity provision for circumstances where an employer has created a dangerous condition for which injuries are “substantially certain” to occur. Finally, in State v. Lee, SC 19688, the Court will hear another double jeopardy case and decide whether a violation of double jeopardy requires  that the second conviction be vacated or just that the second sentence be vacated.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Court will hear a crime victim’s writ of error in State v. Skipwith, SC 19608, challenging a defendant’s plea agreement and sentence which was made without notice being given to the victim as required by the Victim’s Rights Amendment to the Connecticut Constitution.  The second case of the day is Bagley v. Adel Wiggins Group, SC 19835, which will evaluate the standard of proof necessary to make an asbestos exposure claim under the Connecticut Product Liability Act.

Thursday, April 6, 2107

The Court closes its seventh term with two habeas cases. In both Perez v. Commissioner of Correction, SC 19855, and James E. v. Commissioner of Correction, SC 19854, the Court will decide whether a 2013 statutory amendment that requires serving 85 percent of a sentence before becoming eligible for parole violates the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws when applied to defendants who were sentenced prior to the 2013 amendment.

The Connecticut Supreme Court’s February term begins today and ends on Thursday with the Court hearing six cases this week.

Tuesday, February 21st

The Court starts the term by hearing oral argument in Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc. v. Beverly Platner et al., SC 19797, where the Court will consider whether the plaintiff-land trust and the Attorney General proved at trial that the defendant’s landscaping activities on residential property violated a “conservation restriction” contained in the deed to preserve the property in its natural condition.

The second case of the day is State v. Jerzy G., SC 19641, where the issue is whether a defendant who has been deported has the right to appeal his criminal conviction. In State v. Aquino, 279 Conn. 293 (2006), the Supreme Court had held that when a defendant is deported, any challenge to the conviction becomes moot because there is no “practical relief” available to the deportee. In Jerzy G., the Supreme Court is being asked to reconsider that decision.

Wednesday, February 22nd

The Court hears two cases, Sepega v. LeLaura, SC 19683, and Lund v. Milford Hospital, SC 19834, where it is being asked to interpret the scope of the “firefighters rule.” The rule holds that firefighters and police officers cannot sue a property owner for injuries suffered during the performance of their duties on the premises. In both Sepega and Lund, the plaintiff-police officers claim that the rule should be limited only to premises liability cases and should not bar claims alleging other negligence on the part of the property owner.

Thursday, February 23rd

The Court end its February term with two habeas cases. In Anthony A. v. Commissioner of Correction, SC 19565, the Court will decide whether a prisoner can use a writ of habeas corpus to seek removal of a sex offender registry requirement. In Nelson v. Commissioner of Correction, SC 19830, the Court will consider whether a prisoner’s agreement not to file future habeas petitions challenging his conviction is enforceable.

 

 

The third term of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s 2016-2017 sitting begins today. Here are the cases that it will be hearing this week:

Monday, November 7th  

The Court starts the November term with CCT Communications, Inc. v. Zone Telecom, Inc., SC 19574, a case which explores whether a contract’s termination clause for filing bankruptcy is effective when the bankruptcy case is filed but subsequently dismissed. The second case is Disciplinary Counsel v. Elder, SC 19698, where the Court will consider whether a lawyer was properly suspended for misrepresenting his identity on a telephone call ten years prior to the grievance complaint, in light of the Practice Book’s six year limitations period for attorney grievances.

Continue Reading November Term: Week One

The Connecticut Supreme Court has released its argument calendar for its second term of the 2016-2017 sitting. Here’s a look at the first week:

Tuesday, October 11th

The Court starts the October term with a family appeal and a habeas appeal. In Gabriel v. Gabriel, SC 19571, the Court granted certification to review the Appellate Court’s decision as to whether the trial court’s modification of unallocated alimony and child support was proper after there was a change in the primary custodial parent. In Kaddah v. Commissioner of Correction, SC 19512, the Supreme Court will consider whether a prisoner has a right to the effective assistance of counsel in a second habeas proceeding, challenging the quality of the representation at the first habeas proceeding.

Continue Reading October Term: Week One

Argument Recap:  Connecticut Light and Power Company v. Proctor, SC 19531

The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in Connecticut Light and Power Company v. Proctor, SC 1935, a dispute concerning a poultry business, unpaid electric service and a man from New Jersey known only as “Chan.” Setting aside the interesting facts, the legal issue presented is whether the elements of an implied in fact contract were established at trial.

The facts, in a nutshell, reflect that the Defendant, Gary Proctor, was a part time employee of a poultry business known as “Pedigree Chicks” which, although operating in Connecticut, was not registered with the Secretary of State’s office.  Mr. Proctor contacted Plaintiff to arrange for electric service to the commercial location but was informed by Plaintiff that no commercial account could be created in the absence of a validly registered corporate entity.  From that point, the facts asserted by the parties diverge greatly with the Plaintiff asserting that Defendant orally undertook personal responsibility for not only future electric consumption charges but also for payment of “retroactive” charges for service previously provided to the location.  Plaintiff’s claims were bolstered by Defendant’s act of providing his home address, contact phone numbers and social security number in a conversation with one of its representatives at the time of the creation of the account.

Continue Reading A Chicken Farm and an Electric Bill – Enforcing an Implied Contract

Argument Recap:  Bifolck v. Philip Morris, S.C. 19310

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Bifolck v. Philip Morris, Inc., S.C. 19310. The question before the Court was whether, for product liability actions premised on design defects, Connecticut should abandon its consumer expectation test and adopt a risk utility test that requires proof of a reasonable alternative design.

The case has significant implications for how product liability claims will be proven under Connecticut law going forward and, as such, will affect businesses that manufacture, distribute, and sell products within this state. The importance of this case is highlighted by the fact that twelve organizations filed amici briefs (Murtha Cullina authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, which was joined by the New Haven Manufacturers Association and the Insurance Association of Connecticut).

Continue Reading Revisiting Connecticut’s Standard for Product Liability Design Defect Claims

Today, the Connecticut Attorney General filed an application for certification to file a public interest appeal in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Rell, HHD-CV-14-5037565-S, the high-profile school funding lawsuit pending in Hartford Superior Court. The State is seeking permission to pursue an appeal under Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-265a which permits immediate appellate review of decisions rendered before the completion of a case under special circumstances.

Last week, Judge Thomas Moukawsher issued a 90-page post-trial decision declaring that Connecticut’s education funding policy is “irrational.” Rather than enter a final judgment, the court scheduled further proceedings to be held after the State has submitted to the court proposed reforms and after the plaintiffs have commented on those proposals. The judge gave the State until March 6, 2017 to submit its proposal addressing education related concerns such as the relationship between state and local government in education, a formula for statewide funding, standards for hiring, evaluating, and paying teachers, and funding and defining special education. In the last words of its decision, the court “retain[ed] jurisdiction” over the case until those issues had been addressed.

Continue Reading CCJEF v. Rell: Connecticut’s School Funding Case Headed to Supreme Court

The Connecticut Supreme Court is now open and in session…

September brings with it the beginning of a new year at the Connecticut Supreme Court. It also marks the start of “Appellate Insights,” a blog by the Appellate Practice Group at Murtha Cullina. Our goal is to analyze and discuss civil appeals pending before the Connecticut Supreme Court and particularly those with issues of interest to the business community.

At the start of each month, we will provide a brief summary of the issues and cases that are scheduled to be argued during the month before the Connecticut Supreme Court. For the September term, those previews will be posted next week on Tuesday (September 6th) and Thursday (September 8th). The September term runs from September 12th – 23rd.

As the term proceeds, you will see regular updates on developments before the Supreme Court with an emphasis on those civil cases that could affect the business community. After the appeal has been argued, we will provide an analysis of the issues with insight into how the case could affect the practice of law and the business community in Connecticut.  When the decision is released, we will follow-up on our preview with a summary of the decision and the import of the case.

We hope that lawyers, businesses, journalists, and the general public will find Appellate Insights to be a useful resource for staying abreast of developments in Connecticut law. If you have any comments or suggestions, please drop us a line at AppellateInsights@murthalaw.com.

Happy Labor Day weekend and we will see you next week!