Serrano & Serrano, LLC – Connecticut Lawyers – Accidents, Divorce, Social Security Disability, Immigration, Bankruptcy – Hartford 860 236-9350 * Waterbury 203 729-6100 * Toll-Free 800 856-6400

Connecticut Attorneys Summarize Recent Cases: Personal Injury, Family Law, Social Security Disability & SSI, Workers Compensation, Immigration, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law & DWI / DUI

Serrano & Serrano, LLC  –  Connecticut Lawyers  –  Accidents, Divorce, Social Security Disability, Immigration, Bankruptcy – Hartford 860 236-9350 * Waterbury 203 729-6100 * Toll-Free 800 856-6400 header image

The Identifiable Person, Imminent Harm Exception Applies To Lawsuits Against Municpalities

March 13th, 2010
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Case:  Grady v. Town of Somers (SC 18208) December 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Rockville (Vernon)

Synopsis:  A town resident who fell on ice at a transfer station sued the town for personal injury without suing any individual town employees.  The supreme court held that even though the resident chose to only sue the town and not any specific employees, the identifiable person, imminent harm exception to governmental immunity applied.  However, the court ruled against the resident because he was not a member of a class of foreseeable victims as he was not legally required to personally take his trash to the transfer station.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294CR12.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 324 (2009)

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School Not Responsible for Youth Director’s Fall on Wet Bathroom Floor

March 11th, 2010
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Case:  Cotto v. Board of Education (SC 18339) December 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  New Haven

Synopsis:  Governmental immunity applied to shield the New Haven Board of Education from liability for personal injury suffered by a youth director who fell on a wet bathroom floor.  The general rule is that municipal employees are not liable for an accident caused by negligence.  One exception to this rule is if the employee’s actions are likely to subject an identifiable person to imminent harm.  School children attending public schools during school hours fall within this exception.  The youth director’s slip and fall, however, did not fit within this exception in that the risk of specific harm to him was not sufficiently immediate because any person using the bathroom could have slipped at any time.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294CR150.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 265 (Conn. 2009)

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A Parent’s Use of Reasonable Physical Force Is a Defense to Risk of Injury

March 11th, 2010
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Case:  State v. Nathan J. (SC 17903) December 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court 

Synopsis:  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-18 states that a parent or guardian may use reasonable physical force upon a minor if the parent or guardian reasonably believes such force is necessary to maintain discipline or promote the minor’s welfare.  This statute applies to the felony crime of risk of injury.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294CR9.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 243 (2009)

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Owner and Members of Company Which Owned Truck Involved in Fatal Avon Mountain Crash Could Seek Rights Under Company’s Insurance Policy

March 4th, 2010
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Case:  Wilcox v. Webster Ins. (SC 18317) November 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Hartford

Synopsis:  Because the persons making personal injury or wrongful death claims as a result of a multi-car accident on Avon Mountain claimed that the company’s owner and member were responsible for the company’s conduct, both the owner and member had legal standing to claim that they were an insured under the company’s liability insurance policy.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294CR6.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 206, 982 A.2d 1053  (2009)

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A BB Gun Is a Firearm and Results in Enhanced Criminal Penalties If Used in a Felony

February 28th, 2010
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Case:  State v. Grant (SC 18177) November 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Bridgeport

Synopsis:  A BB gun is a firearm for purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat.

§ 53-202k which provides for a mandatory 5 year prison sentence for any person who uses or threatens the use of a firearm while committing a Class A, B or C felony.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294CR139.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 151, 982 A.2d 169 (Conn. 2009)

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Evidence Not Sufficient to Show Heart Attack Was Job Related

February 23rd, 2010
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Case:  DiNuzzo v. Dan Perkins Chevrolet Geo, Inc. (SC 17869) November 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

District:  New Haven

Synopsis:  Although the deceased worker’s treating physician testified that his work-related injury resulted in inactivity and obesity that led to a heart attack, without some evidence establishing that the worker in fact suffered a fatal heart attack or actually suffered from atherosclerotic heart disease, the causal link between the compensable injury and the alleged manner of death simply was too weak to support a reasonable inference that the two events were connected.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294cr756.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 132, 982 A.2d 157 (Conn. 2009)

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Court Presumed to Have Used Correct Standard of Proof in Post-Judgment Divorce Claim of Fraud

February 22nd, 2010
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Case:  Kaczynski v. Kaczynski (SC 18235) November 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Bridgeport

Synopsis:  The old rule was that if a trial court did not indicate which standard of proof had been used, it was presumed the court applied the standard of a fair preponderance of the evidence.  The new rule is that if a trial court in a case requiring proof by clear and convincing evidence fails to state what standard of proof it has applied, a reviewing court will presume that the correct standard was used.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294cr5.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 121, 981 A.2d 1068 (Conn. 2009)

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Defendant May Request Hearing to Challenge Protective Order In Domestic Violence Case

February 20th, 2010
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Case:  State v. Fernando A. (SC 18045, 18103) April 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Synopsis:  If a protective order is entered after an arrest for domestic violence, the defendant can request a more extensive hearing about whether the order needs to remain in place.  At the hearing, the state must prove by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the protective order needs to continue to protect the victim.  The state may offer reliable hearsay evidence and the trial court can decide whether testimony from the complainant or other witnesses is necessary for the protective order to continue. The defendant may testify or present witnesses and may cross-examine any state witnesses.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR294/294CR144.pdf

Case Citation:  294 Conn. 1, 981 A.2d 427 (2009)

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Medical Malpractice Jury Award Greater Than Plaintiff Requested Not Supported By Evidence

February 15th, 2010
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Case:  Earlington v. Anastasi (SC 18042, 18044) August 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Hartford

Synopsis:  In a medical malpractice lawsuit against an obstetrician and hospital for a baby born with paralysis from nerve damage during labor, the jury awarded economic damages of $1,588,000 although plaintiff’s attorney asked for $1,020,117.  On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the jury’s award was not supported by the evidence because the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert’s did not support an award greater than the plaintiffs sought.  The Court ordered the plaintiffs to remit the difference or accept a new trial.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR293/293cr161.pdf

Case Citation:  293 Conn. 194 (2009)

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DWI Suspect’s Behavior, Including Refusing Breath Test, was Sufficient to Show Guilt

February 14th, 2010
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Case:  State v. Morelli (SC18047) April 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Norwalk

Synopsis:  A jury could find a defendant in a drunk driving case guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor who admitted to consuming alcohol, had accelerated into an intersection where an accident occurred, had acted belligerently toward the responding police officers, and had displayed a consciousness of guilt by refusing a breathalyzer test.  proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR293/293cr122.pdf

Case Citation:  293 Conn. 147, 976 A.2d 678 (2009)

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Prosecutor Did Not Violate “Golden Rule” Against Seeking Sympathy

February 14th, 2010
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Case:  State v. Long (SC18245 ) August 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  New Haven

Synopsis:  A golden rule argument improperly urges jurors to put themselves in a party’s place or into a party’s shoes, encouraging jurors to depart from neutrality and decide on the basis of personal interest and bias rather than on the evidence.  The prosecutor’s statement in a risk of injury and sexual assault case to “think of what it would be like as [C] is sitting, having to explain to somebody what happened to her,” was not an improper golden rule argument or an improper request for sympathy.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR293/293CR105.pdf

Case Citation:  293 Conn. 31, 975 A.2d 660 (2009)

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Contract to Share Lottery Winnings Is Valid

February 13th, 2010
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Case:  Sokaitis v. Bakaysa (SC 18130) August 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  New Britain

Synopsis:  Because only legal gambling was involved, an agreement by two sisters to share any winning, including slot machines, cards, Foxwoods casino and lotter tickets, was enforceable so that one sister was required to share her Powerball winnings with the other sister.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR293/293CR115.pdf

Case Citation:  293 Conn. 17, 975 A.2d 51 (2009)

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Disability Benefits Awarded After a Divorce Are Not Property That Can Be Divided as Part of the Spouses’ Assets

February 11th, 2010
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Case:  Mickey v. Mickey (SC 18126) July 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Hartford

Synopsis:  A correction officer’s disability retirement benefits, awarded after the divorce, cannot be included as part of the parties’ marital assets and subject to division between the parties even though the divorce judgment required that retirement benefits be divided.

Case Link: 

http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR292/292CR98.pdf

 

Case Citation:  292 Conn. 597, 974 A.2d 641 (2009)

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The Good Faith Certificate for Medical Malpractice Cases Requires Only an Opinion that the Standard of Care Has Been Breached

February 11th, 2010
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Case:  Dias v. Grady (SC 18265) July 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Rockville

Synopsis:  To file a medical malpractice case, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-190a requires a good faith belief that grounds exist for the case.  The plaintiff must provide a written opinion from a similar health care provider that the defendant had breached the standard of care.  However, it is not necessary that the written opinion state that the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.  The plaintiff’s good faith belief regarding causation may be based on consultation with nonsimilar health care providers or on other reasonable grounds.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR292/292cr91.pdf

Case Citation:  292 Conn. 350, 972 A.2d 715 (2009)

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Confidentiality Agreement During Divorce Remained in Effect After Divorce

February 9th, 2010
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Case:  Perricone v. Perricone (SC 17683) June 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  New Haven

Synopsis:  The parties entered into a confidentiality agreement during their divorce.  The separation agreement for the divorce did not include the separation agreement.  After the divorce, the wife argued that the confidentiality agreement was no longer in force because it was not included in the separation agreement.  The Supreme Court disagreed, stating it would have been “highly improbable” that the parties, upon dividing their property, intended to reduce the value of their property by exposing the husband’s business immediately to the harm that the agreement was intended to prevent.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR292/292CR78.pdf

Case Citation:  292 Conn. 187, 972 A.2d 666 (2009)

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Whether Salary Includes Bonuses for Alimony Purposes Depends on the Parties’ Intent

February 9th, 2010
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Case:  Isham v. Isham (SC 18270) June 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Stamford

Synopsis:  Whether bonuses should be included as salary so as to trigger a modification of alimony depended on the parties’ intention.

Case Link:  http://www.serranolawyers.com/wpress/wp-admin/post-new.php

Case Citation:  292 Conn. 171  (2009)

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Criminal Defendant Need Not Be Present for Testimony Replay

January 1st, 2010
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Case:  State v. Gilberto L. (SC 18213) June 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Synopsis:  Playing back testimony to the jury when a criminal defendant is absent from the courtroom does not violate the defendant’s constitutional right to be present at trial.  The court held that the playback of the testimony was not a critical stage of the trial because there was nothing useful the defendant could have done during the playback to contribute to his defense.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR292/292CR70.pdf

Case Citation: 292 Conn. 226 (2009)

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Train Station May Not Be Liable for Patron Who Was Shot to Death

January 1st, 2010
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Case:  Sullivan v. Metro-North (SC 17739) June 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  New Haven

Synopsis:  Although the doctrine of superseding cause may not be usually applied to negligence cases, it may apply to cases where a defendant claims that an unforeseeable intentional tort, force of nature, or criminal event supersedes its tortious conduct.  A jury may consider whether the doctrine should apply in this case where the defendant  train company claims that its alleged negligent failure to safeguard a station was superseded by an unforeseeable criminal act resulting in the shooting death of a train patron.

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR292/292CR94.pdf

Case Citation:  292 Conn. 150, 971 A.2d 676 (2009)

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Search Warrant Valid Despite Mistakenly Referring to Cocaine Instead of Marijuana

December 8th, 2009
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Case:  State v. Browne (SC 18195) May2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Middletown

Synopsis:  A search pursuant to a warrant that mistakenly referred to cocaine instead of marijuana was constitutional because (1) the affidavit supporting the warrant correctly referred to marijuana and (2) the erroneous part of the warrant could be severed.

Case Link:  291 Conn. 720 (2009)

http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR291/291cr57.pdf

 

 

 

Case Citation:  Conn. App.  (2009)

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Three-Part Test Required to Admit Horizontal Nystagmus Test for DUI / DWI

December 8th, 2009
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Case:  State v. Popeleski (SC 18250) May 2009

Court:  Connecticut Supreme Court

Trial Court:  Manchester

Synopsis:  

To admit evidence of failing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test in a drunk driving case, the state must show (1) that the test satisfies the criteria for admission of scientific evidence, (2) lay a proper foundation with regard to the qualifications of the individual administering the test and (3) demonstrate that the test was conducted in accordance with relevant procedures.

 

Case Link:  http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR291/291cr76.pdf

Case Citation:  291 Conn. 769, 970 A.2d 108 (2009)

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