Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court determining that property used for a residential mental health treatment program was tax exempt under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-81(7), holding that the court did not err.The trial court granted the exemption on the residential mental health treatment program on the grounds that it did not provide housing subsidized by the government and that any housing provided was temporary. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to establish that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; (2) the trial court properly found that the program's housing was temporary and therefore qualified for the exemption on that basis; and (3) therefore, the trial court correctly rendered summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs. View "Rainbow Housing Corp. v. Cromwell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the appellate court reversing in part the trial court's judgment granting injunctive relief against Defendant and enforcing several restrictions against the property at issue in this case, holding that the appellate court incorrectly concluded that Plaintiffs lacked standing to enforce the residential use restriction.The trial court granted injunctive relief against Defendant that (1) enforced one restrictive covenant limiting the use of the subject property to residential use, which was contained in a deed that had been executed by the original grantors of the parties' real properties; and (2) enforced two other use restrictions that appeared in a separate declaration that applied to the properties. The appellate court reversed in part the lower court's judgment, concluding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to enforce the restrictive covenant in the deed that limited the use of Defendant's property to residential purposes. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiffs had standing to enforce the restrictive covenant limiting the use of the properties to residential purposes only. View "Abel v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court determining that Defendant, a municipal corporation that provided water to towns and boroughs in southeastern Connecticut, was not liable for the losses of Plaintiff, a hotel owner, when an explosion at Defendant's pumping station caused an interruption in the hotel's water service, holding that there was no error.On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in determining that Defendant could not be held liable for Plaintiff's losses because public policy did not support the imposition of a duty on Defendant under the circumstances of this case. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed, holding that the trial court properly determined that public policy did not support the imposition of a duty on Defendant under the facts and circumstances of this case. View "Raspberry Junction Holding, LLC v. Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court concluding that Boardwalk Realty Associates, LLC (Boardwalk), the court-appointed receiver of rents, lacked authority under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-163a to impose and collect rent or use and occupancy payments in the place of the subject property's owner, Cadle Properties of Connecticut, Inc., holding that there was no error.This case centered on the Town of Canton's efforts to collect unpaid property taxes on a parcel of real property that was effectively abandoned Cadle and on which M&S Gateway Associates, LLC and Mitchell Volkswagen, LLC (together, Defendants) operated an automobile dealership. Boardwalk brought a complaint seeking rent and use and occupancy payments from Defendants. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, holding that section 12-163a does not permit a receiver of rents to collect rent or use and occupancy payments if the tax delinquent property owner is absent and nor pursuing those payments. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a receiver appointed under section 12-163a is not statutorily authorized to impose and collect rent or use and occupancy payments under the facts and circumstances of this case. View "Boardwalk Realty Associates, LLC v. M & S Gateway Associates, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court dismissing Defendant's appeal from the trial court's denial of her motion to open the judgment of strict foreclosure, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion.Defendant defaulted on a promissory note, and Plaintiff commenced a strict foreclosure action. After the trial court set the law day, Defendant filed a motion to open the judgment, raising equitable grounds involving alleged misrepresentations by Plaintiff relating to the foreclosure proceedings. The trial court denied the motion. The appellate court dismissed Defendant's appeal as moot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the claim raised in Defendant's motion was not moot but, rather, was a recognizable claim in equity; and (2) Defendant's claim that the trial court abused its discretion by denying her motion to open the judgment failed. View "U.S. Bank National Ass'n v. Rothermel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court affirming the judgments of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff's appeals challenging various text amendments to the Hartford Zoning Regulations and zoning map changes made by the City of Hartford's Planning and Zoning Commission, holding that the appellate court erred.Plaintiff applied for a special permit to construct a restaurant on property that it owned in the City. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed four separate appeals challenging the City's zoning map changes which, if properly adopted, would effectively preclude Plaintiff from obtaining the special permit. The trial court dismissed the appeal on the ground that Plaintiff had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. The appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the appellate court erred in determining that the City's zoning administrator had the authority to void Plaintiff's application for a special permit; and (2) Plaintiff could not have appealed the zoning administrator's action to the zoning board of appeals because it was not a legal decision for purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-6. View "Farmington-Girard, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission of City of Hartford" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that the assessor for Defendant, the town of Wilton, improperly imposed late filing penalties on Plaintiffs after taking and subscribing to the oath on the grand list for that assessment year, holding that there was no error.This dispute arose because the assessor signed the grand list without imposing penalties on Plaintiffs and instead delayed imposing penalties until when the assessor issued certificates of change pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-60 for the properties that were the subjects of the penalties. The Board of Assessment Appeals of the Town of Wilton denied Plaintiffs' appeals. The trial court affirmed. The appellate court reversed, holding that tax penalties imposed without statutory authority are invalid. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the penalties imposed were assessments required by law within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-60; and (2) because penalties imposed without statutory authority are invalid, the Town may not collect the penalties at issue in this case. View "Wilton Campus 1691, LLC v. Wilton" on Justia Law

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In this public nuisance action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court concluding that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict due to an alleged fatal inconsistency between two special interrogatories, holding that the jury's answers to the two special interrogatories were not inconsistent.Plaintiff alleged that the Town of Redding should have guarded a specific retaining wall located outside of a local pub by a fancy and that the absence of a fence constituted an absolute public nuisance and caused him to sustain personal injuries. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Defendant. The Appellate Court reversed, concluding that the jury's response to the first special interrogatory - that the unfenced retaining wall was inherently dangerous - was fatally inconsistent with the jury's response to the third special interrogatory - that the Town's use of the land was reasonable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the jury's answers to the first and third special interrogatories could be harmonized in light of established nuisance jurisprudence. View "Fisk v. Redding" on Justia Law

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In this summary process action for nonpayment of rent under the terms of a commercial lease the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment of possession rendered in favor of Plaintiffs, holding that the trial court properly denied Defendants equitable relief from forfeiture of their tenancy.After the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's judgment of possession rendered in favor of Plaintiffs, Defendants appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying their special defense of equitable nonforfeiture. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the facts of this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Defendants equitable relief from forfeiture. View "Boccanfuso v. Daghoghi" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgment of possession rendered in favor of Plaintiffs, holding that the trial court properly rejected Defendants' claim that the doctrine of equitable nonforfeiture should have operated to prevent their eviction in a summary process action for nonpayment of rent under the terms of a commercial lease.After Defendants failed to pay rent, Plaintiffs served a notice to quit on Defendants, thereby terminating the parties' lease. Because Defendants did not subsequently vacate the premises Plaintiffs initiated this summary process action. In response, Defendants raised special defenses, including the special defense of equitable nonforfeiture. The trial court rendered judgment of possession for Plaintiffs. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Defendants equitable relief from forfeiture and granting possession of the premises to Plaintiffs. View "Boccanfuso v. Daghoghi" on Justia Law