Week of July 5, 2017

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. I may from time to time add commentary, and may even criticize a decision’s reasoning. Such commentary is solely my own personal opinion. Pullman & Comley’s Appellate Practice Group of which I am a member includes experienced appellate advocates in almost every area of the law.  Should you have a need to consult about a potential appeal, please email me at emccreery@pullcom.com. I hope the reader finds these summaries helpful. – Edward P. McCreery

Posted July 6, 2017

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions:

In this decision, the CT Supreme Court stuck with an earlier interpretation of CGS 31-51bb as meaning, despite losing an arbitration or grievance claim on the exact same issue, a collective bargaining member may still bring a lawsuit to assert a discriminatory employment practice without collateral estoppel baring the claim.

In this case, despite the parol evidence rule, the Trial Court allowed a defendant to successfully argue that the promissory notes he signed in favor of the plaintiff were really a disguise for a membership investment by the plaintiff in his real estate venture.  The notes all contained a prohibition on any oral modifications.  The Appellate Court reversed holding the parol evidence rule and the no oral modification clauses should have precluded that evidence, and remanded for a new trial where the defendant could then try and argue what exceptions to the parol evidence might apply as defenses.  The Supreme Court then modified the Appellate ruling and held there should be no re-trial, but only a hearing in damages on the amount owed by the defendant.  The defendant does not get a second bite at the apple to assert and prove defenses he did not establish during the first trial.  The Supremes also adopted prior Appellate precedent by holding that members of an LLC do not have standing to assert claims on behalf of LLC.  Only the entity itself may sue..

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions:

  • AC37928 - Redding Life Care, LLC v. Redding

An important decision of first impression in CT establishing that non-testifying experts who have not agreed to testify enjoy a qualified immunity against being forced to testify against their will absent a showing of compelling need to obtain their testimony.   The Court justified an earlier ruling this year that took the opposite position noting the expert (doctor) in that case had incorrectly argued for absolute immunity.  It’s only a qualified immunity they said.  The decision sets forth a test to be considered on whether the immunity should be breached. 

The facts and holdings of any case may be redacted, paraphrased or condensed for ease of reading.  No summary can be an exact rendering of any decision, however, so interested readers are referred to the full decisions.  The docket number of each case is a hyperlink to the Connecticut Judicial Department online slip opinion.  © 2017 Pullman & Comley, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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