Welcome to our Supreme and Appellate Court summaries webpage. On this page, I provide abbreviated summaries of decisions from the Connecticut appellate courts which highlight important issues and developments in Connecticut law, and provide practical practice pointers to litigants. I have been summarizing these court decisions internally for our firm for more than 10 years, and providing relevant highlights to my municipal and insurance practice clients for almost as long. It was suggested that a wider audience might appreciate brief summaries of recent rulings that condense often long and confusing decisions down to their basic elements. These summaries are limited to the civil litigation decisions based on my own particular field of practice, so you will not find distillations of the many criminal and matrimonial law decisions on this page. I may from time to time add commentary, and may even criticize a decision’s reasoning. Such commentary is solely my opinion . . . and when mistakes of trial counsel are highlighted because they triggered a particular outcome, I will try to be mindful of the adage . . . “There but for the grace of God . . ..” I hope the reader finds these summaries helpful. – Edward P. McCreery
Posted April 9, 2014
The majority held that it would violate the public policy of the State to allow one convicted of the illegal conduct of possessing child pornography to turn around and sue their prior social worker on a theory of negligence for ineffective treatment of the plaintiff’s propensity to want to view child porn. Under the Wrongful Conduct Rule….no one may profit in a lawsuit by their own criminal wrongdoing…… ex turpi causa non oritur action…….heretofore applied to contract and equity claims….also applies to negligence (tort) claims. They left for another day whether there will be any exceptions to the rule as none of them adopted by other states applied here. A traditional claim for malpractice would not have been barred just because of the arrest and conviction…but here the plaintiff sought damages that flow directly from the consequences of his illegal conduct. Such a claim is barred.
The dissent argued that the Wrongful Conduct Rule is archaic and should not be extended to torts. In tort actions the jury should decide the claim and apply traditional contributory negligence analysis to the claim. Alternatively it should be up to the legislature to say what type of claims can be barred ….or….the court should have just stricken the claims asserting damages for his prison and probation experiences and left the pure malpractice allegations for a jury to decide. [Wow - can’t say I agree with that.]