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Case Summaries

COMMERCIAL CASES

Ulbrich, et al v. Groth, et al, 310 Conn. 375 (2013).

Plaintiffs sued TDBank and an Auction house for breach of warranty and Unfair Trade Practices relating to the sale of commercial equipment sold during a foreclosure commenced under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Many items purchased by the Plaintiffs were owned by third-parties not subject to the foreclosure judgment, requiring the Plaintiffs to return the items to those third parties. The Plaintiffs then sued the Bank and Auction House for economic losses. The jury awarded the Plaintiffs $417,000 for compensatory damages and the Trial Court awarded the Plaintiffs an additional $1,251,000 in punitive damages under CUTPA, plus $274,000 in attorney’s fees. The awards were upheld after appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Prince v. Johnson Memorial Hospital, Inc.

Orthopedic surgeon had her surgical privileges wrongfully revoked after performing operations at the Hospital for over 25 years. Suit was instituted to force the Hospital to reinstate her surgical privileges and to compensate for lost income. Judgment entered for surgeon reinstating her operating privileges and she was awarded $202,644 for lost income.

Landmark Investment Group, LLC v. CALCO Construction and Development Company, et al., 318 Conn. 847 (2015)

The plaintiff is a commercial real estate development company. The defendant (and the co-defendant as its principal) also develop commercial real estate. The plaintiff entered into a contract with a third-party to purchase raw land located in Plainville, CT. The plaintiff intended to develop the site into a commercial real estate complex to lease to National tenants, including a Home Depot and restaurant chains. After the plaintiff began to market the property to potential tenants, the defendants wrongfully induced the third-party to breach its contract with the plaintiff and to enter into a sales contract to sell the property to the defendants. The plaintiff sued the defendants for Tortious Interference with the plaintiff's contract, as well as Unfair Trade Practices under CUTPA. The jury awarded the plaintiff $4 million dollars in compensatory damages for lost profits. The jury also awarded the plaintiff punitive damages and attorney's fees under CUTPA, as well as punitive damages under common law for the commission of an intentional tort. The jury found the defendant's principal personally liable for both counts of the complaint, as he acted in such an individual fashion as to directly harm the plaintiff, as alleged in the complaint.  The jury verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court on appeal and the case was resolved for $5.9 million.

Commissioner of Environmental Protection vs. State Five Industrial Park, Inc., 304 Conn. 128 (2012)

The State of Connecticut sought to impose liability on the defendant corporation under the theory of reverse corporate veil piercing for the obligation of an officer of the corporation who had a personal debt to the State in excess of $4,000,000. The State of Connecticut also sought to impose personal liability on the wife of the corporate officer through the concept of triangular veil piercing and/or seriatim veil piercing by first imposing liability on the corporation through reverse veil piercing and then imposing liability on the wife by utilizing traditional veil piercing from the corporation down to the wife, as she was in control of the corporation. The trial court ruled in favor of the State, but the case was reversed in a unanimous decision by the State Supreme Court, in which the concepts of reverse veil piercing and traditional corporate veil piercing were addressed in detail. The defendants pushed for reversal of an Appellate Court case recognizing reverse veil piercing as a viable cause of action. The Supreme Court majority severely limited the application of the reverse veil piercing doctrine while, the concurring opinion written by Justice Zarella agreed that the Appellate Court case recognizing reverse veil piercing should be overruled and that said cause of action should be rejected by Connecticut.

Brett Stone Painting and Maintenance, LLC vs. New England Bank, f/k/a Apple Valley Bank and Trust Company

The plaintiff was a construction company that entered into a construction contract with a homeowner who received a construction loan from the defendant bank. The bank required the construction contractor to acknowledge acceptance of an assignment between the bank and the homeowner of the construction contract that existed between the contractor and the homeowner. During the construction process, the homeowner defaulted on the construction contract by failing to pay for the same and the plaintiff sued the bank under the theory of Breach of Contract, alleging that the bank, as the assignee of the construction contract, acted in such a way that it assumed responsibility for payment under the construction contract. After trial, the Court found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding the full value of the construction contract plus contractually imposed interest and full payment of all attorney's fees for litigation of the claim.

Fountain Pointe, LLC vs. Liliana Calpitano, Trustee of the Calpitano Family Living Trust, et al. 144 Conn. App 624 (2013)

The plaintiff was the owner of commercial real estate that was developed into separate condominium units for sale to third parties. One of the trustees of the defendant Trust, was an originating member of the plaintiff LLC, but had transferred his interest as the condominiums were being sold. A dispute arose as to the allocation of proceeds from condominium sales, which resulted in the trustees of the Trust creating and filing fraudulent mortgages on the Land Records in excess of $1,200,000. The plaintiff sued for slander of title and to discharge the mortgages and was successful in clearing title, as well as being awarded damages for the slander of title, including attorney's fees for prosecuting the claim.

Dilton Robinson, et al vs. Thomas E. Coughlin, et al. 266 Conn. 1 (2003)

The co-defendant, as wife of the named defendant, was sued for damages under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA) for receipt of assets from her husband, who was a debtor to the plaintiff. However, prior to suit, the defendant wife reconveyed those assets to her husband, yet was still sued for the monetary damages as being a recipient of the assets at one time. The claim was successfully defended under the UFTA and that decision was affirmed in a case of first impression before the State Supreme Court.

Deming v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 279 Conn. 745 (2006)
Bardin v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 279 Conn. 745 (2006)
McMahon v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 279 Conn. 745 (2006)

After three insurance agents ended their long-standing relationship with Nationwide Insurance Company and opened their own insurance agencies, Nationwide withheld accrued and vested deferred compensation (retirement) monies, ranging from more than $150,000 to more than $800,000, from each agent, claiming that the agents had forfeited those monies by engaging in competition. The insurance agents, represented by Weinstein & Wisser, challenged the enforceability of the forfeiture-for-competition clauses in their employment agreements. Although the trial court upheld the forfeiture, the State Supreme Court reversed that ruling and sent the case back for a trial on the merits, recognizing that forfeiture-for-competition clauses, like other non-competition clauses in employment agreements, are a restraint of trade and violate public policy if written more broadly than necessary to protect the employer's legitimate interests. Ultimately, at the trial on the merits, the insurance agents demonstrated that the non-compete clauses were written too broadly and were unenforceable.

Northeast CT Economic Alliance, Inc. v. ATC Partnership, 272 Conn. 1 (2004)

The defendant's real estate worth millions of dollars was taken for $1 by a municipality for a redevelopment project. The defendant, represented by Weinstein & Wisser, challenged the amount of compensation paid for the taking of its property. The town claimed that $1 was "just compensation" because expected environmental remediation costs exceeded the value of the property. The defendant property owner argued that State grants available to the property for economic development and environmental remediation would offset the costs of any remediation and should therefore be factored into any proper valuation of the property for purposes of determining the "just compensation" to be paid for the taking. The trial court agreed, awarding damages of $1,752,365 plus interest and costs, and the State Supreme Court upheld that determination on appeal.

Suffield Development Associates, L.P. v. National Loan Investors, L.P., 260 Conn. 766 (2002)

After attorneys for a judgment creditor tied up the judgment debtor's funds by using a bank execution that exceeded the amount of the judgment, the judgment debtor, represented by Weinstein & Wisser, sued the judgment creditor and its attorneys for damages caused by the excessive execution. After the trial court and the Appellate Court ruled that the judgment debtor had no valid legal claim against the judgment creditor and its attorneys for the excessive execution, the State Supreme Court concluded that the judgment debtor did state a cause of action for abuse of process against the attorneys for the judgment creditor. (By then, the claim against the judgment creditor itself had been settled.) The State Supreme Court sent the case back to the trial court for a trial on the merits, in which the judgment debtor was successful in proving its case against the attorneys for the judgment creditor, and the judgment debtor was awarded money damages for losses caused by the excessive execution, which judgment was later upheld on appeal (97 Conn. App. 541).

Beckenstein Enterprises-Prestige Park, LLC v. Keller, 115 Conn. App. 680, cert. denied, 293 Conn. 916 (2009)

The defendant, represented by Weinstein & Wisser, purchased a package of commercial properties for $58 million. Years after the closing on the sale, the defendant was accused of not paying enough for the properties, with the seller claiming that the defendant purchaser had colluded with employees of the seller who had negotiated the sale on behalf of the seller, notwithstanding that the sale price had been approved by the seller's principal and the various contract terms had been reviewed and approved by the seller's governing board. A trial on the merits resulted in a jury verdict in favor of the defendant, which judgment was later upheald on appeal.

Tadros v. Tripodi, 87 Conn. App. 321 (2005)

A medical doctor and a medical practice corporation, represented by Weinstein & Wisser, brought suit against another doctor in the medical practice, claiming that the other doctor and his wife had secretly stolen over $800,000 from the medical practice over the course of several years. After a trial on the merits, the trial court ordered the defendants to repay the money, trebling the damages for theft to a total of $2,630,955.81, plus interest in the amount of $537,418.50. The trial court also ruled that the defendant doctor was liable to the plaintiff doctor for unpaid rent of $211,875 that was found to be due for the period of time that the defendant doctor continued to occupy the building, owned by the doctors' real estate corporation, after the plaintiff doctor relocated his practice elsewhere. The State Appellate Court rejected the defendants' arguments on appeal, upholding the judgment in favor of the plaintiff doctor and medical corporation.

Connecticut Savings Bank v. Obenauf, 59 Conn. App. 351 (2000)

Years after a judgment in excess of $41,000 had entered against her, the defendant, represented by Weinstein & Wisser, moved to open and set aside the judgment, arguing that neither the pleadings in the case, the evidence that had been presented nor the law permitted the court to have entered a money judgment against her, and that equity demanded that the judgment be opened and set aside. The trial court denied the motion, but the Appellate Court directed the trial court to grant the motion and to set aside judgment against the defendant, concluding that "the judgment must be corrected on the basis of equitable considerations because the relief granted was facially inconsistent with the complaint" and because "the record demonstrates quite clearly that the defendant seeks to correct an injustice in the original judgment that was contrary to existing law."

Medical Malpractice – Stillborn Child

The mother of the stillborn child suffered pre-eclampsia in the last few weeks of gestation. The mother was appropriately treated for pre-eclampsia, but the physicians failed to monitor the status of the fetus, which would have identified fetal distress. Within twenty-four hours after an office visit, no fetal movement was detected, resulting in a stillborn birth. The claim settled before suit for $1,200,000.

Medical Malpractice – Lack of Informed Consent

A fifty-year old patient underwent surgery for removal of a kidney stone. The physician recommended invasive surgery as opposed to treatment with ultrasound, which is much less risky. During the surgical intervention, an injury occurred that required the patient to lose her kidney. The case settled just before jury selection for $ 400,000.

Medical Malpractice – Emergency Room Negligence

A sixty- year old man presented to the emergency department with complaints of shortness of breath and chest pain. The physicians ruled out a cardiac event after several hours and discharged the patient to home. While in the waiting room immediately after discharge, the patient became unresponsive and expired. It was then determined that the patient was suffering from a saddle pulmonary embolism, which could have been diagnosed through the utilization of a CT scan of his chest. The case settled before jury selection for $420,000.

Weinstein & Wisser, P.C., located in West Hartford, Connecticut, represents clients in medical malpractice and catastrophic motor vehicle accidents.

Litigation results:

Medical malpractice - Spinal Cord Injury

A 16 year old boy underwent back surgery to correct a deformity known as kyphosis (hunchback). During the surgery, as the physician was resecting a part of the boy's vertebra, the surgeon caused the surgical instrument to impact with the boy's spinal column. The injury resulted in temporary lower extremity paralysis, with partial recovery in a few weeks. However, the boy was left with bilateral lower extremity weakness, which impacts the way he can ambulate. The case settled just before jury selection and the boy received compensation in excess of one million dollars paid through a structured settlement.

Medical Malpractice - Emergency Room Negligence

The patient presented to the Emergency Department having fainted while at home. The patient had been drinking and was labeled as an alcoholic who was not caring for himself, resulting in the fainting spell. The staff never evaluated the patient for cardiac issues, although his high blood pressure readings and other "metabolic syndrome" required diagnostic testing to rule out heart-related issues. The patient was discharged to home and died of a heart attack several hours later. The claim was settled for $850,000 before suit.

Medical Malpractice – Misdiagnosis of Thyroid Cancer

35 year old woman presented with a nodule on her thyroid. Needle biopsy was performed but the physician failed to take samples from the node, resulting in a pathology reading that showed the patient to be cancer free. Thereafter, the malignant node grew to an advanced stage of cancer, which was later discovered. Settlement after suit for $1.5 million dollars.

Medical Malpractice – Improper Administration of Medication

Infant received improperly low dose of glucose to address chronic low blood sugar at birth and thereafter. The improper dosing prevented the infant's brain from fully developing, resulting in permanent cognitive impairment. Settlement after suit with a structured payout in excess of $14 million dollars.

Man underwent back surgery but was then administered an anti-coagulant to address potential clotting while immobile. This led to bleeding at the incision cite and rather than adjusting the medication, the cite was stitched closed. The bleeding continued internally resulting in pressure on the patient's spine (Cauda Equina Syndrome) that caused partial paralysis. Settlement after suit with a structured payout in excess of $4 million dollars. Additional funds were paid to his wife for Loss of Consortium.

Other Personal Injury Results

Teenager ejected from SUV in a rollover accident suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury. Case settled before suit with a structured payout in excess of $4 million dollars".

Woman killed by teenage drunken driver at an intersection. After exhausting all available funds from driver’s insurance policy and the policy covering the Decedent providing for Underinsured Motorist Coverage, suit was brought against the Event Sponsor that served alcohol to the underage teenager who caused the accident. The total amount recovered was $1 million.

Product Liability Claim against a glass company for manufacturing a defective coffee mug that shattered and injured the hand of a surgeon. Case settled after suit for $202,500.

* The reporting of results of verdicts or settlements for former clients should not be considered as an expectation that the same or similar results will be achieved for future clients with similar matters

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