Appellate Court Notes: Week of October 10, 2016

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 I hope the reader finds these summaries helpful. – Edward P. McCreery

Posted November 18, 2016

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions:

  • AC38395 - State v. Holmes
  • AC37811 - Vaccaro v. Shell Beach Condominium, Inc.

Ten years after he bought his condo unit, the plaintiff read the condo declaration for the first time and claimed he realized he had been assigned the wrong garage unit (a limited common element) at the time of the closing and demanded the condo board re-assign him the correct garage.  When they refused, he sued the association and several board members personally in a seven count complaint .  This decision held the claims were properly dismissed by summary judgment under the applicable Statute of Limitations ("SOL").  Either 52-577 or 52-576 with three-year limits applied to the tort and contract claims.  Counts sounding in breach of fiduciary duty, CUTPA, and breach of contract, all had limitations period of three and six years that had expired as well.  The SOL clock began to run when the condo unit was purchased.  The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that no SOL applied.  While a Trial Court is not bound by an SOL for a purely equitable claim and may consider it advisory, the plaintiff’s complaint sought both equitable and legal relief alleging the same facts for each count.  SOLs apply when a claim can be both equitable and legal. 

The Court next looked at the plaintiff’s assertion that the SOL for any tort claims had been “tolled.”  The Court said that tolling requires a specific duty owed to act in a certain way.  While arguably the Condo Board had the power to do what he had requested under the Declaration Bylaws and the Common Interest Ownership Act, there was no prescribed duty that they had to act a certain way.  Further, the concept of tolling is meant to apply when the situation is constantly evolving and a lawsuit is premature, not when the act is done and completed and nothing new takes place during the intervening time frame and events have already been set in stone.  The plaintiff’s harm, if any, occurred back when he bought the condo unit.

Upheld the decision of the Workers Compensation Board to deny authorization for spinal fusion surgery when there were conflicting medical opinions over the need and the patient’s own treating physician suggested against it.

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.  © 2016 Pullman & Comley, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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