Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court
Stone v. East Coast Swappers, LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court affirming the judgment of the trial court finding that Defendant, East Coast Swappers, LLC, had violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., holding that the trial court abused its discretion when it failed to award Plaintiff attorney's fees.The trial court found that Defendant had violated CUTPA and awarded Plaintiff compensatory damages. The court, however, declined to award punitive damages or attorney's fees. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the Court should adopt a presumption whereby a plaintiff prevailing in a CUTPA action should ordinarily recover attorney's fees under section 42-110g(d) unless the award would be unjust. The Supreme Court declined to adopt Plaintiff's suggested presumption but nevertheless reversed, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to award Plaintiff attorney's fees. View "Stone v. East Coast Swappers, LLC" on Justia Law
Reserve Realty, LLC v. Windemere Reserve, LLC
The Supreme Court reversed the judgments of the Appellate Court determining that it was required to apply State v. Hossan-Maxwell, Inc., 436 A.2d 284 (Conn. 1980), to this case, holding that Hossan-Maxwell, Inc. is overruled.Plaintiffs and Defendants entered into agreements for the sale of property. Defendants included list-back provisions in their purchase and sale agreements for two parcels. Plaintiffs later filed suit alleging breach of contract and anticipatory breach. Defendants raised several defenses, arguing, as relevant to this appeal, that the list-back provisions in the parties' purchase and sale agreements were illegal tying arrangements. The trial court ruled for Defendants. The Appellate Court affirmed on the basis of the antitrust defense. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court should not have found the list-back agreements unenforceable without first engaging in a full market analysis, as a per se ban on list-back agreements, as applied in Hossan-Maxwell, Inc. is inconsistent with federal antitrust law as it has evolved over the decades; and (2) the trial court's judgments cannot be affirmed under the proper legal standard. View "Reserve Realty, LLC v. Windemere Reserve, LLC" on Justia Law
Saunders v. Briner
In this breach of contract action, the Supreme Court reversed in part the trial court's judgment rendered in favor of Plaintiff as to his derivative claims, holding that Plaintiff lacked standing to bring them under the common law or the Connecticut Limited Liability Company Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 34-100 et seq., but affirmed the judgment for Plaintiff as to his direct claims.This case arose from the deterioration of a business relationship between three individuals. Plaintiff sought damages for, inter alia, breach of contract. Defendants filed a counterclaim. The trial court awarded judgment in part for Plaintiff on the complaint and on the counterclaim. The Supreme Court reversed in part and vacated the court's award of attorney fees under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., holding (1) Plaintiff lacked standing to bring his derivative claims; and (2) the trial court properly entered judgment for Plaintiff on his direct counts and did not abuse its discretion in refusing to order Defendants to reimburse Plaintiff for the fees incurred by a joint, court-appointed fiduciary hired to wind up the companies at issue. View "Saunders v. Briner" on Justia Law
Cenatiempo v. Bank of America, N.A.
In this complaint alleging that a residential loan servicer engaged in systematic misrepresentations and delays over several years of post default loan modification negotiations with mortgagors the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court insofar as it struck Plaintiff's negligence claim but reversed the judgment insofar as the court struck Plaintiffs' claim alleging a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 24-110a et seq., holding the alleged facts could support a claim under CUTPA but would not support a claim of negligence.Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant committed unfair or deceptive acts in the conduct of trade or commerce by failing to exercise reasonable diligence in reviewing and processing Plaintiffs' loan modification applications, causing undue delay, and misrepresenting many aspects of the loan modification. Defendant moved to strike both the CUTPA and negligence counts. The trial court granted the motion to strike. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiffs alleged a CUTPA violation sufficient to survive a motion to strike; and (2) Defendant did not owe a common-law duty of care to Plaintiffs, and therefore, the trial court properly struck Plaintiffs' common-law negligence count. View "Cenatiempo v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law
Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC
In this action brought by the administrators of the estates of nine people killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Supreme Court held that the trial court properly determined that, although the trial court properly struck most of Plaintiffs’ claims against various manufacturers, distributors and sellers of the Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), 15 U.S.C. 7901 through 7903, did not bar Plaintiffs’ claims that Defendants violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUPTA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., by marketing the firearm to civilians for criminal purposes and that those wrongful marketing tactics contributed to the massacre.Adam Lanza carried out the massacre using a XM15-E2S. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment that most of Plaintiffs’ claims were precluded by established Connecticut law and/or PLCAA. However, as to Plaintiffs’ claims that Defendants knowingly marketed, advertised, and promoted the XM15-E2S for civilians to use to carry out offensive, military style combat missions, the Supreme Court held that Plaintiffs pleaded allegations sufficient to survive a motion to strike because (1) PLCAA does not bar Plaintiffs’ wrongful marketing claims; and (2) to the extent that it prohibits the unethical advertising of dangerous products for illegal purposes, CUTPA qualifies as a predicate statute. View "Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC" on Justia Law
Channing Real Estate, LLC v. Gates
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendant on both Plaintiff’s complaint seeking recovery on six promissory notes and on Defendant’s counterclaim alleging a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). On appeal, Plaintiff challenged only the scope of the Appellate Court’s remand order, arguing that the court erred in ordering a new trial rather than restricting the remand proceedings to a hearing in damages. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court in part, holding that a new trial was unnecessary because Defendant lacked standing to pursue a claim alleging a violation of CUTPA. View "Channing Real Estate, LLC v. Gates" on Justia Law
Western Dermatology Consultants, P.C. v. VitalWorks, Inc.
The trial court found that VitalWorks, Inc. and Cerner Physician Associates, Inc. (together, Defendants) violated the Connecticut Unfair trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by making misrepresentations during the sale of practice management and electronic medical records software to Western Dermatology Consultants, P.C. (Plaintiff). The Appellate Court reversed and directed the trial court to render judgment for Defendants on the CUTPA count, concluding that, under applicable choice of law principles, the law of New Mexico, rather than CUTPA, governed Plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court with respect to its disposition of Plaintiff’s CUTPA claim and otherwise affirmed, holding that the Appellate Court did not err in determining that Plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim is governed by New Mexico law, but the case must be remanded for a new trial so that New Mexico law can be applied to that claim. Remanded to the trial court for a new trial on Plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim. View "Western Dermatology Consultants, P.C. v. VitalWorks, Inc." on Justia Law