Welcome to our Supreme and Appellate Court summaries. I have provided 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 December 16, 2013
Prospective purchaser sued the listing realtor when GMAC rejected their 94k bid subject to inspections for a piece of REO property in favor of a 90k, non-contingency all-cash bid, from a long-time client of the real estate office. The plaintiff claimed the realtor had tortuously interfered with their bid in favor of the agency’s long-time client. The Trial Court found both offers were fairly submitted to GMAC who simply chose the lesser, but stronger offer. On appeal by the plaintiff, it was held that the plaintiff could not raise the parol evidence rule or merger clause in the listing agreement between the realtor and GMAC in an effort to keep the realtor from testify that a new GMAC computer program dictated how offers had to be submitted to GMAC….. as opposed to what the listing agreement called for. Non-parties to a contract may not invoke the parol evidence rule. The decision also holds it was not hearsay for the realtor to testify how the GMAC computer program worked, such that once a bid was accepted, it would block further bid submittals. [A footnote states the decision would not address the issue of whether a tortious interference finding automatically equals a CUTPA finding when combined with a violation of public policy.]
And you wondered what was clogging up the court docket: Plaintiff sued the Town and the State DPH when a diving board at the Town pool was replaced with a “kiddie slide." The Town claimed that no relief could be afforded to the plaintiff as the board had already been replaced. On appeal, the Court noted that the case was properly dismissed….but for the reason that the plaintiff had no standing to bring it in the first place.
Re-filed lawsuit was not saved from the Statue of Limitations by the Accidental Failure of Suit Statute because the original suit had been dismissed by nonsuit due to repeated failures to follow the Practice Book and non-compliance with court orders.
If the Statute of Limitations ("SOL") has not been met as to the original defendants, the apportionment defendants brought in by the original defendants are entitled to get out on SJ due to the expiration of the SOL, notwithstanding that the plaintiff has already pleaded over directly against them.
[Reminder: Due to time constraints I do not summarize all decisions. Thus I generally will not review matrimonial, criminal and UIM decisions as a few examples.]