Topic:
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; COURTS; LEGISLATION; STATUTES;
Location:
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS;

OLR Research Report


October 29, 2008

 

2008-R-0603

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESPONSES TO STATE SUPREME AND APPELLATE COURT DECISIONS

By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney

Kevin McCarthy, Principal Analyst

You asked us to identify every instance, since 1965, in which the state Supreme or Appellate court:

 

1. held that the legislature did not have authority to act and the legislature responded by proposing a constitutional amendment granting itself additional power,

2. held that a state statute was unconstitutional and the legislature passed legislation effectively reversing or overturning the Court's decision, or

3. issued a decision and the legislature passed legislation effectively contrary to the Court's decision.

SUMMARY

In order to respond to your questions, we searched (1) all state constitutional amendment since the ratification of the 1965 constitution; (2) Law Revision Commission reports back to 1979, the year of the first report on state statutes found unconstitutional by a state court; (3) statutory histories and statements of purpose back to 1990, the earliest year this information is electronically available; and (4) bill analyses and public act summaries back to 1972, the first year these documents were produced by the Office of Legislative Research.

We found no instances in which an amendment to the state constitution was adopted after the state Supreme or Appellate Court held that the legislature lacked authority to adopt a particular statute or that a statute was otherwise unconstitutional.

We found three instances, one in 1990 and two in 1995, in which the State Supreme Court held that a state statute was unconstitutional and the legislature passed legislation contrary to the Court's decision. We did not find any comparable instances resulting from state Appellate Court decisions.

There have been at least 63 other instances in the last 43 years (since 1965) in which the state Supreme or Appellate Court has issued a decision and the legislature passed legislation contrary to the Court's decision.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT FOLLOWING COURT DECISION

Although we did not find any instances in which an amendment to the state constitution was adopted following a decision by a state court that the legislature lacked authority to adopt a particular statute or that a statute was otherwise unconstitutional, we found that at least one constitutional amendment was adopted following an adverse court decision. In Maloney v. Pac, 183 Conn. 313 (1981), the Supreme Court ruled that the Superior Court had erred in declaring the legislative regulation review process an unconstitutional encroachment on judicial and executive powers prohibited by the separation of powers doctrine. But the Court did not declare the process unconstitutional; rather, it held that the regulation in question was not a regulation as defined by the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act.

Subsequently in 1981, the General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 64 proposing a constitutional amendment specifying that the legislature may delegate regulatory authority to the Executive Department and that the General Assembly retains the right to disapprove any administrative regulation of an executive agency. The voters approved the proposed amendment at the 1982 general election and it became Article XVIII of the Amendments to the State Constitution, amending Article II on the Distribution of Powers.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION TO REVERSE OR OVERRULE A COURT DECISION

Table 1 shows three instances in which the legislature passed legislation contrary to a decision rendered by a state appellate court that a law was unconstitutional. The table includes the citation of the statute affected, a brief summary of the relevant part of the court's decision, and a brief summary of the public act effectuating the change in law.

Table 2 shows 63 instances in which the state Supreme or Appellate Court interpreted state law, without finding the law unconstitutional, and the legislature passed legislation contrary to the court's decision. The table includes the citation of the statute affected, a brief summary of the relevant part of the court's decision, and a brief summary of the public act effectuating the change in law.

Table 1: Legislative Response to Court Finding Statute Unconstitutional

Statutory Citations

Court Cases

PA Numbers and Summaries

4-148

Merly v. Connecticut, 211 Conn. 199 (1989)

The Court held that a special act that excused the failure of an injured party to present his claim to the claims commissioner within the time frame required by statute was an unconstitutional violation of Article First, Section One of the Connecticut Constitution. According to the Court, an act that creates a preference can be constitutionally valid only if, at least in part, it furthers a public interest. An act passed to achieve a public purpose is constitutional even if it incidentally confers a direct benefit upon an individual or class.

PA 90-284 explicitly allows the General Assembly, through special act, to authorize a person to present a claim after the time passes if it (1) deems the authorization to be just and equitable and (2) makes an express finding that such authorization is supported by compelling equitable circumstances and would serve a public purpose. These findings may not be reviewed by the Superior Court.

42-110g

Associated Investment C. Ltd. Partnership v. William Associate IV, 230 Conn. 148 (1994)

The Court held that the state constitution does not guarantee a right to a jury trial in Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices (CUTPA) cases.

PA 95-123 grants plaintiffs and certain defendants a right to a jury trial in lawsuits brought under CUTPA.

45a-438

Nagle v. Wood, 178 Conn. 181 (1979)

The Court held that the law, which allowed illegitimate children to inherit from their fathers only if the parents eventually married, violated the equal protection clauses of the U.S. and state constitutions.

PA 95-316 allows a child born out of wedlock to inherit if (1) the father has been adjudicated the father by a court, (2) the father has acknowledged under oath to be the child's father, or (3) after the father's or child's death, paternity has been established by the probate court by clear and convincing evidence that the father has acknowledged in writing that he is the father and has openly treated the child as his.

Table 2: Legislation Contrary to Appellate and Supreme Court Holdings

Statutory Citations

Court Cases

PA Numbers and Summaries

Common Law

State v. Courchesne, 262 Conn. 357 (2003)

The Court rejected the common law “plain meaning rule” for statutory interpretation. Instead it adopted an approach that requires courts to consider all relevant sources of meaning, such as legislative history, legislative purpose, and the statute's context) in addition to statutory language without any requirement of finding ambiguity.

PA 03-154 requires that a statute's meaning be initially determined from its text and relationship to other statutes. It prohibits use of evidence of meaning from outside the text if the text is plain and unambiguous and does not yield absurd or unworkable results.

1-200 (formerly 1-18a)

Elections Review Committee of the Eighth Utilities District v. FOIC, 219 Conn. 685 (1991)

The Court held that language in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was not absolutely clear and that the term 'committee' was intended by the legislature only to include as public agencies committees that are subunits of the public agencies that created them.

PA 93-195 expands the definition of “committee” in the Freedom of Information Act to include any committee created by a public agency. Prior law limited the definition to a subcommittee composed totally of agency members.

1-200

Board of Education of Ridgefield v. Freedom of Information Commission, 217 Conn. 153 (1991)

The Court determined that a letter containing a carefully articulated demand for legal relief constituted a “pending claim,” even though its author stated at several points that his clients wished to avoid litigation if possible. The Freedom of Information Commission argued that although the letter threatened legal action, it could not be considered a pending claim because it was not a claim formally submitted to an adjudicatory body and was therefore not “pending.”

91-140 defined a “pending claim” as a written notice to an agency demanding legal relief or asserting a legal right and stating the intention to institute an action in an appropriate forum (e.g., a state regulatory agency, the claims commissioner, or a local housing or building code board of appeals) if the relief or right is not granted.

It defines “pending litigation” as (1) a written notice to an

agency demanding legal relief or asserting a legal right and stating the intention to institute an action in court if the relief or right is not granted, (2) service of a complaint that seeks to enforce or implement legal relief or a legal right against an agency and is returnable to court, or (3) the agency's consideration of action to enforce or implement legal relief or a legal right.

1-211

Chapin, Town Clerk of New Milford v. FOIC, 22 Conn. App. 316 (1990)

The town clerk of New Milford appealed an order that she provide certain information on a diskette. The Court held that the FOIA required only that requested information be provided in hard copy form. The Court added that to dictate the format is to go beyond the essence of the act, which is to provide for inspection of public records.

PA 91-347 requires a public agency that computerizes public records to provide a copy of disclosable data in any form requested (e.g., disk or tape), whether that is the form in which the agency maintains its records or not, as long as it can reasonably make a copy or have it made.

1-215 (formerly 1-20b)

Gifford v. Freedom of Information Commission, 227 Conn. 641 (1993)

While a criminal investigation is pending, the Court interpreted FOIA to require the release of only the name and address of a person arrested; the date, time, and place; and the offense charged, not the full arrest report.

PA 94-246 increases the information that must be disclosed when arrest records are sought under FOIA to include (1) the arrest report, (2) the incident report, or (3) a news release or similar report of the arrest.

7-148j et seq.

New Haven Comm'n on Equal Opportunities v. Yale University, 183 Conn. 495 (1980)

The Court held that municipalities do not have statutory authority to adopt a local equal opportunities ordinance or to empower a local commission to issue orders regarding discriminatory employment practices.

PA 80-403 provides statutory authority for any municipality to adopt a code of prohibited discriminatory practices and to establish a local agency to investigate any allegations of such practices.

7-479a(e)

7-479e(b)

7-479f

Town of Plainville v. Travelers Ins. Co., 178 Conn. 664 (1979)

The Court held that the town's liability arose solely under 7-433c (heart and hypertension act) and not under the provisions of the workers' compensation act. The Court held that it could not conclude that benefits paid by an employer under 7-433c were benefits required by a state “workers' compensation law” or “occupational disease law.” The Court reasoned that to do so would require it to ignore the plain effect of the legislation and to contradict its own characterization of the legislation as providing special compensation, or even an outright bonus, to qualifying policemen and firemen.

PA 80-258 (1) redefines “interlocal workers' compensation risk management pool” to allow pooling of hypertension and heart disease risks, (2) adds provisions on claims arising from hypertension or heart disease, and (3) required $1 million in the aggregate with respect to both compensation risk management and separate hypertension/heart disease pools before the agency operating both is allowed to function.

8-2*

First Hartford Realty Corp. v. Plan & Zoning Com.-Bloomfield, 165 Conn. 533 (1973)

The Court ruled that “a town's comprehensive plan is to be found in the scheme of the zoning regulations themselves and not within the 'master plan' of development.”

PA 92-50 eliminates the requirement that zoning regulations conform to “a comprehensive plan.” It instead requires a zoning commission, when adopting regulations, to “consider” the plan of development, which the local planning commission must adopt and review at least every 10 years.

PA 93-385 requires zoning commissions to adopt regulations that conform to a “comprehensive plan.” The commissions must still consider the “plan of development” when adopting regulations, as the law requires, prepared by town planning commissions.

8-2

Essex Leasing v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 206 Conn. 595 (1988)

The Court held that towns can end a property's nonconforming use if it had not been used for the nonconforming purpose for a specified period of time.

PA 89-277 prohibits town zoning regulations from providing for the termination of any nonconforming use without regard to the owner's intent solely because of non-use for a specified period.

8-7

Munroe v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Branford, 261 Conn. 263 (2002)

The Court held that the period for appealing a decision of a zoning enforcement officer runs from the aggrieved party's notice of the official's decision, rather than from the date of the decision.

PA 03-144 specifies that the appeal period begins on the earliest of the following three dates: (1) when a person receives an appealable order, requirement, or decision; (2) when the legal notice described above is published; or (3) upon actual or constructive notice of the order, requirement, or decision.

8-8

Jewett City Savings Bank v. Town of Franklin, 280 Conn. 274 (2006)

The Court held that a special exception review is “enforcement” of zoning regulations; if local zoning regulations allow an appeal to a zoning board of appeals, aggrieved parties must exhaust this process before appealing to the Superior Court.

PA 07-60 allows aggrieved parties to bypass a zoning board of appeals and file appeal directly in the Superior Court.

8-8(b)

Simko v. Zoning Board of Appeals, 205 Conn. 413 (1987); 206 Conn. 374 (1988)

The Court held that the town clerk must be made a party to the lawsuit in order for the Superior Court to have jurisdiction over a zoning board's appeal.

PA 88-79 states that town clerks are not necessary parties in zoning board appeals, validates pending appeals with this defect, and allows appeals recently dismissed for this reason to be reopened.

8-8(f)

Andrew Ansaldi Co. v. Planning and Zoning Commission, 207 Conn. 67 (1988)

The Court held that the Superior Court lacks jurisdiction over an appeal from a zoning commission decision because the plaintiff failed to serve the chairman or clerk of the commission and the town clerk.

PA 89-356 specifies that failure to serve parties other than the board does not deprive the court of jurisdiction.

8-13k

Prokolkin v. General Motors Corp., 170 Conn. 289 (1976)

The Court held that the statute of limitations for strict product liability lawsuits is the general tort liability statute (three years from the act or omission).

PA 76-293 establishes a specific products liability statute of limitations (three years from the date the injury was sustained, discovered, or should have been discovered or eight years from the date of sale or lease, whichever is earlier).

8-26

Winchester Words v. Madison, 219 Conn. 303 (1991)

The Court held that a decision appealed to the Superior Court was still “pending” and the commission was therefore precluded from hearing another application on the same parcel.

PA 92-191 allows a town's planning commission to consider an application for subdividing a parcel of land even if the commission's decision on a prior application for subdividing the same or substantially the same parcel has been appealed to the Superior Court.

8-26a

Poirier v. Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Wilton, 75 Conn. App. 289 (2003)

The Appellate Court held that the plain terms of CGS 8-26a(b) gave lot owners in approved subdivisions a vested right, entitling them to develop their property in accordance with the zoning regulations in place when the subdivision was approved, exempting them from subsequent changes in the regulations.

PA 04-210 requires that any construction on an improved lot covered by a plan conform to zoning changes adopted after the lot is improved. Under the act, a lot is considered improved once a building permit has been issued and a foundation has been completed under the permit. The requirement also applies if any existing structure on the lot is demolished (i.e., a “teardown”). The act applies to subdivisions and resubdivisions approved before, on, or after its effective date (May 5, 2004).

8-42

New Haven Housing Authority v. Dorsey, 164 Conn. 247 (1973)

The Court held that the legislature's failure to amend CGS 8-42 after an attorney general's opinion that the statute barred tenants from being commissioners as an indication of legislative intent that tenants should not be placed in a position where they could control housing authorities in whose properties they were tenants.

PA 75-415 explicitly allows a tenant in a property under the control of a housing authority to be that housing authority's commissioner.

8-124 et seq. and

8-186 et seq., inter alia

Kelo v. City of New London, 268 Conn. 1 (2004), 125 S. Ct. 2655 (2005)

The Court found that the city's taking of privately owned properties for private development did not violate the state or U.S. constitutional bans against taking property for public uses without just compensation. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently upheld this decision.

PA 07-141 makes many changes to the laws towns must follow when taking property to be developed and used for roads, parks, and schools or apartments, stores, and factories. Among other things, the act adds more steps to the taking process and bars takings that are primarily intended to raise tax revenue. It requires (1) towns to hold a public hearing on each taking and state why it is necessary and (2) town legislative bodies to approve most takings by a two-thirds vote. The act allows property owners to ask the Superior Court to enjoin a taking if the town or agency failed to follow the correct statutory procedure. It gives towns a maximum of 10 years to complete a taking. The act specifies how towns must compensate owners when taking their property for economic development.

9-7b

Concerned Citizens of Sterling et al. v. Town of Sterling, 204 Conn. 551 (1987)

The Court held that the Superior Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear a complaint alleging the illegality of a town referendum approving a land sale by the town of Sterling. According to the Court, the plaintiffs should have first exhausted their administrative remedies by filing a complaint with the Elections Enforcement Commission.

PA 88-113 permits an individual who claims he or she has been aggrieved by a violation of a referendum statute to file a complaint directly with the Superior Court, which can issue an injunction.

10-95n

Gay and Lesbian Law Students Assn. v. Board of Trustees, 236 Conn. 453 (1996).

The Court held that state agencies could not allow military recruiters to conduct business on state property because the law barred state agencies from being used “in furtherance” of discrimination

PA 02-7, in order to comply with the federal “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,” requires state V-T schools to give military recruiters from the U. S. and state armed forces any on-campus recruiting opportunities and access to student directory information necessary to prevent loss of the federal funds to the schools or the state.

10-151 (a) and (b)

Garovoy v. Board of Ed. of Reg. School District 1, 179 Conn. 618 (1979)

The Court held that a tenured teacher whose position is limited could not replace a non-tenured teacher even if the tenured teacher is qualified for that position.

PA 80-354 allows a tenured teacher whose position is limited to replace a non-tenured if the tenured teacher is qualified for that position.

12-63d

84 Century Ltd Partnership v. Board of Tax Review, 207 Conn. 250 (1988)

The Court affirmed the power of municipal tax assessors to adjust property valuations between the required 10-year revaluations.

PA 88-321 bars an assessor from changing the assessed value of a property that is sold or transferred between scheduled revaluations based solely on the sales price.

12-71

Paul Dinto Electrical Contractors v. Waterbury, 266 Conn. 706 (2003)

The Court held that a corporation should pay its motor vehicle taxes to the town where it maintains its principal place of business rather than to the town where the vehicle is actually located.

PA 04-288 sets rules for determining the town where a vehicle is subject to tax and allows businesses whose vehicles are registered in one town but taxed in another to declare the taxing town.

12-81(7)

The Fanny J. Crosby Memorial, Inc. v. City of Bridgeport, 262 Conn. 213 (2002)

By law, real property owned by or held in trust for a corporation organized exclusively for charitable purposes, and used exclusively for those purposes, is not subject to local property taxes. But the charitable exemption explicitly excludes housing that is (1) government subsidized or (2) for low- and moderate-income people. The Court ruled that the charitable tax exemption does not apply to housing owned by a charitable corporation, if the corporation collects rent from people living there.

PA 03-270 allows charitable property tax exemption for some types of temporary housing owned by charitable organizations, such as halfway houses, homeless shelters, and short-term housing.

PA 04-240 specifies that any rent tenants pay to a charitable organization for short-term housing it operates is exclusively for charitable purposes, thus maintaining the housing's tax-exempt status.

12-226a

Carpenter Technology Corp. v. Commissioner of Revenue Services, 47 Conn. Sup. 122 (2000); Carpenter Technology Corp. v. Commissioner of Revenue Services, 256 Conn. 455 (2001)

Carpenter set up a Delaware subsidiary; capitalized it; and, a few days later, borrowed back most of the money. The company deducted interest on the loan, resulting in a savings in Connecticut corporation taxes for 1990 and 1991. The DRS commissioner determined the loan had no valid business purpose and disallowed the interest deduction. But the Court held the disallowance was unreasonable because Carpenter's arrangement did not result in an improper or inaccurate reflection of income.

PA 02-1, May Special Session 61 & 62, specifies that (1) the facts, circumstances, and transactions of the Carpenter Technology case meet the legal standard for making such an adjustment and (2) the commissioner was justified in making adjustments in that case. It thus bars other companies from using transactions like the one Carpenter Technology Corporation used to reduce or avoid state corporation tax liability.

12-701

Berkley v. Gavin, 253 Conn. 761 (2000)

The Court held that a taxpayer could adjust his adjusted gross income to account for federal deductions in a prior year that produced no corresponding Connecticut tax benefit to him in that year.

PA 01-6 35 & 36 makes it clear that the only permissible adjustments to Connecticut adjusted gross income are those specified in state law. The provision applies to all open tax periods.

13b-34

Gordon v. H. N. S. Management, Inc., 272 Conn. 81 (2004)

The Court held that the defendant, a private company that contracted with the state to operate public transportation services, was an arm of the state and entitled to claim sovereign immunity in an action by a driver and passenger for underinsured and uninsured motorist benefits.

PA 05-220 specifies that a person who provides transportation services pursuant to a state contract with the Department of Transportation commissioner is not an arm or agent of the state.

16-35

Office of Consumer Counsel v. DPUC, 234 Conn. 624 (1995)

The Court held that only those who were or ought to have been parties in DPUC cases have a right to appeal.

PA 96-247 allows those who were or should have been made intervenors in DPUC cases to appeal decisions to courts.

17-3f

Persico v. Maher, 191 Conn. 384 (1983)

The Court held that the Department of Income Maintenance's (DIM) policy manual was a “regulation” as that term is used in the UAPA and as such was not valid because it did not go through the UAPA's regulation-making process.

PA 84-150 makes an exception to the UAPA's regulation-making process for DIM's policy manuals.

17-43d

Nye v. Marcus, 198 Conn. 138 (1985)

The Court held that only parents or legal guardians have standing to seek relief in child custody cases involving the Department of Children and Youth Services.

PA 88-332 gives foster parents and approved adoptive parents' legal standing in these cases.

20-325a(b)

Thornton Real Estate v. Lobdell, 184 Conn. 228 (1981)

The Court held that a real estate brokerage agreement signed by the seller's agent was unenforceable because the relevant statute required the “parties thereto” to sign.

PA 84-137 requires the authorization or contract be signed by the seller or his authorized agent and the broker or his authorized agent rather than by the “parties thereto.”

22a-36a et seq.

Avalon Bay Communities, Inc. v. Wilton Inland Wetlands Commission 266 Conn. 150 (2003)

The Court held that the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act protects wetlands, but not the wildlife that might rely on the wetlands for a portion of its lifecycle, from physical damage or intrusion.

PA 04-209 defines wetlands to include the aquatic plant and animal life and habitats in the wetlands.

22a-42a

Lizotte v. Conservation Commission of Town of Somers, 216 Conn. 320 (1990)

The Court upheld a local regulation that prohibited certain activities within wetland and watercourse buffer areas.

PA 95-313 limits the authority of municipal inland wetland agencies to regulate activities within wetland buffer areas and gives them explicit authority over vernal and other intermittent watercourses.

22a-131a

State v. Cote, 286 Conn. 603 (2008)

The Court declared prior law to be unclear on whether state or federal definitions applied for enforcement purposes in the state hazardous waste program's regulations.

PA 08-186 specifies that, for the purposes of enforcement of certain hazardous waste laws, the terms “treatment,” “storage,” “disposal,” “facility,” “hazardous waste,” and “used oil” have the same meaning as under the state hazardous waste program and regulations authorized under CGS 22a-449(c).

29-212

Jagger v. Mohawk Mountain Ski Area, 269 Conn. 672 (2004)

The Court held that a skier does not assume the risk of, and legal responsibility for, an injury arising out of a collision with a ski instructor, acting in the course of his employment with the ski area operator, when the collision is caused by the instructor's negligence.

PA 05-78 makes several changes with regard to liability associated with skiing. Among other things, it:

1. specifies that collisions with on-duty employees who are skiing and are within the scope of their employment are not an inherent risk of skiing and thus skiers do not assume liability for such collisions;

2. makes spectators on skiable terrain who are not in a designated area during any event assume responsibility for such inherent hazards;

3. makes those who use other equipment, such as snowboards, on ski areas also assume legal responsibility for inherent risks;

4. specifies that those engaging in snow tubing operations the ski area operator provides do not assume legal responsibility for inherent dangers; and

5. eliminates the right of ski operators to raise certain special defenses in lawsuits by skiers.

29-253 (formerly 19-395e)

Bencivenga v. Milford, 183 Conn. 168 (1981)

The Court held that the statutes barred municipalities from adopting building condemnation procedures that are more stringent than those contained in the state Building Code.

PA 81-398 permits municipalities to adopt more stringent procedures than those contained in the code and to enforce local codes concerning demolition, housing, health and sanitary conditions, and fire safety.

30-102

Craig v. Driscoll, 262 Conn. 312 (2003)

The Court held that the Dram Shop Act did not preempt a negligence claim and recognizing a common law negligence action did not conflict with the act's purposes.

PA 03-91 eliminates an injured person's right to sue a seller for negligence in selling alcohol to someone at least age 21.

31-306

Iacomacci v. Trumbull, 209 Conn. 219 (1988)

The legislature's repeal of the waiting period requirement for dependent survivor's benefits affected only those workers injured on or after October 1, 1978 and not those injured before that date who died after the repeal became effective.

PA 89-68 provides for the payment of compensation to dependents of deceased employees who were injured after December 31, 1973 and who died before January 1, 1982.

PA 92-31 expands the applicability of the retroactive provision to cover dependents of workers injured after December 31, 1973 and who died before November 2, 1991.

31-349

Weinberg v. ARA Vending Co. et. al., 223 Conn. 336 (1992)

Under the law, if a claimant with a permanent physical impairment, regardless of its cause, suffers a work-related injury that, together with the preexisting impairment, causes a combined permanent disability that is materially and substantially greater than the disability attributable to the second injury alone, his employer at the time of the second injury must pay compensation for the claimant's entire disability. But the employer's payment must be reduced by any compensation the claimant already received or will receive for the preexisting condition. The Court interpreted the law as limiting the deduction for previous compensation to compensation received under the Connecticut workers' compensation law.

PA 93-228 requires benefits for second injuries to be offset by any compensation the claimant received for the first injury, not just Connecticut workers' compensation benefits.

36-9l

In re Petition of State's Attorney, Cook County, Ill., 179 Conn. 102 (1979)

The Court held that banks, but not their customers, have a right to challenge a subpoena of their bank records.

PA 88-251 gives customers' legal standing to challenge a subpoena of their bank records in certain instances.

36-224a

Cheshire Mortgage Services Inc. v. Montes et al., 223 Conn. 80 (1992)

The Court held that the 10% a lender or mortgage broker can charge on the “principal amount of the loan” excludes points, closing costs, and other fees.

PA 93-130 specifies that the term “principal amount of the loan” means the gross loan amount the borrower is obligated to repay, including prepaid finance charges (points) and other charges that are financed. The definition applies to loans negotiated before, on, and after June 14, 1993.

38a-336 et seq.

McGlinchey v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., 224 Conn. 133 (1992)

The Court held an insurance contract's two-year limitation provision for bringing an arbitration action for underinsured motorist protection is legally valid.

Hotkanski v. Aetna Life and Casualty Co., 224 Conn. 145 (1992)

The Court upheld a similar provision for bringing a lawsuit to recover underinsured motorist benefits.

PA 93-77 prohibits insurance companies from limiting the time within which a suit may be brought or an arbitration claim made to a period of less than three years from the date of the accident. But, with respect to an underinsured motorist claim, the act allows an insured to extend this period by (1) notifying the insurer in writing, before the three-year period expires, of any claim for underinsured motorist benefits and (2) bringing the suit or demanding arbitration within 180 days after exhausting the limits of liability under the policies or bonds of those liable for the injuries by settlement or final court action.

The act specifies that no uninsured or underinsured motorist claim or action pending on December 8, 1992, or brought after that date, is invalid based on a provision in the insurance policy that limits the time for submitting such claims to arbitration or filing them in court if the time allowed is less than that provided by the act. This does not apply to cases that have been settled or gone to final judgment as of May 20, 1993.

38a-336(b)

Vitti v. Allstate Insurance Company, 245 Conn. 169 (1998)

The Court interpreted state law as authorizing insurers to deduct Social Security disability benefits that insured individuals had or would have received from the amount they are liable for under the uninsured motorist provision of motor vehicle insurance policies

PA 00-143 prohibited insurers from reducing uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle insurance coverage payment by the amount of Social Security disability benefits the insured individual receives.

38a-336b

Westchester Fire Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 236 Conn. 362 (1996)

The Court held that an insurer that pays underinsured motorist benefits to its insured because the at-fault driver's insurer denies coverage has a common law equitable subrogation claim against the at-fault driver's insurer for the payment to the insured.

PA 97-58 prohibits insurers that provide underinsured motorist coverage from suing underinsured vehicles' owners or operators to recover underinsured motorist benefits they pay their insureds for accident claims or causes of action pending on or brought after March 19, 1996.

42-179

Caviga North America v. Schenk, 239 Conn. 1 (1996)

The Court held that the Lemon Law's protections do not extend to motorcycles.

PA 97-6 extends Lemon Law coverage to include motorcycles.

45a-266*

Goldstein v. Ancell, 158 Conn. 225 (1969)

The Court held that a joint tenant, as opposed to a tenant in common, has the right to have the decedent's estate pay the decedent's equitable share of any debt on the property. This right, according to the Court, came from the creation of the joint tenancy.

PA 93-67 removes an estate administrator's fiduciary responsibility to pay debts against property that passes by right of survivorship to a joint tenant unless the will expressly requires this. The act also exempts joint tenants from personal liability for such debts or claims. Creditors holding secured debts continue to have the right to bring a cause of action against the estate for satisfaction of the debt or claim.

46b-56b

McGaffin v. Roberts, 193 Conn. 393 (1984)

The Court held that in child custody disputes, the fact that one of the people seeking custody is the child's parent is a factor to be considered but does not create a presumption that the parent should have custody.

PA 85-244 creates a presumption that in a child custody suit between a parent and a non-parent, the parent should be awarded custody.

46b-56d

Ireland v. Ireland, 246 Conn. 413 (1998)

The Court held that a divorced parent objecting to his ex-spouse's decision to relocate with their child had to prove that the move was not in the child's best interests. The Court also listed factors that judges should consider in resolving these disputes.

PA 06-168 requires parents who relocate or plan to relocate with a child to prove that the relocation is in the child's best interest. It also codifies a nonexclusive list of factors family courts must consider when the non-relocating parent seeks to block the move due to its significant impact on an existing parenting plan (i.e., a court-approved custody and visitation schedule).

47a-2*

Bourque v. Morris, 190 Conn. 364 (1983)

The Court held that merely because a person pays rent on a weekly basis does not make him a transient occupant (as opposed to a tenant). Rather, the Court suggested that transience be decided case-by-case, based on several factors, including (1) the period of occupancy; (2) nature of the accommodations (i.e., hotel, rooming house, etc.); and (3) presence or absence of cooking, bathing, or toilet facilities in the room. Ultimately, according to the Court, the issue can be decided only on the basis of reasonable inferences drawn from the circumstances of the transaction between the parties.

PA 02-30 provides that anyone who occupies a hotel, motel, or similar lodging for less than 30 days is deemed transient, unless he uses it as his primary residence from the beginning of the occupancy. Occupancy of 30 days or more is deemed non-transient, unless the establishment is not the occupant's primary residence. Occupancy of 90 or more days is non-transient regardless of whether the occupant has another residence.

49-4b

Naugatuck Savings Bank v. Anthony T. Fiorenzi, 232 Conn. 294 (1995)

The Court held that a lender cannot foreclose on an open-end mortgage that secures the obligation of a borrower who is secondarily liable for an open-end loan when the mortgage deed fails to comply with the statute. In other words, the court held the requirements of the statute are mandatory.

PA 97-320 eliminates the requirement that an open-end mortgage securing a secondary liability on an open-end loan comply with statutory requirements in order for the mortgage to be enforceable.

51-207

Doyle v. Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 252 Conn. 912 (1999) and 252 Conn. 914B (2000).

Pursuant to Practice Book 70-7(b), the court determines when a case will be considered en banc (by the full Supreme Court). In 2000, The Court issued a supplemental opinion regarding its decision to consider a case en banc. It indicated that it had adopted the following policy of allowing senior justices to vote on (1) general policy and administrative matters that come before the court, (2) petitions for certification to appeal a case, and (3) questions of reargument pursuant to court rules.

PA 06-152 establishes rules that the chief justice must follow when he summons Superior Court judges or senior justices or judges to hear Supreme Court cases. It also eliminates the authority of senior Supreme Court justices to participate in Supreme Court meetings.

51-240

Child v. Blesso, 158 Conn. 389 (1969)

The Court held that requiring parties to conduct their questioning of prospective jurors in the presence of other prospective jurors does not violate the right to question each juror separately.

PA 77-255 gives parties the right to question prospective jurors outside the presence of other prospective jurors.

52-212a

In Re Baby Girl B., 224 Conn. 263 (1992)

In this termination of parental rights case, the trial court ruled that it could reopen a termination judgment after the four-month limit had expired because it had continuing jurisdiction under the requirement that the court must monitor pre-adoption placements. The Supreme Court overturned the trial court on this issue, ruling that it did not have continuing jurisdiction. But it allowed the reopening to stand because the state had filed an amended termination of parental rights petition. The Court considered this a waiver of the state's objection to the reopening.

PA 93-51 specifies the Superior Court does not have continuing jurisdiction that would allow it to reopen a termination of parental rights case after the four-month time limit for reopening such cases has expired. The act also specifies that the state's filing of an amended termination of parental rights petition does not constitute a waiver or submission to the court for purposes of reopening a termination judgment.

52-216b

Carchidi v. Rodenheiser, 209 Conn. 526 (1989), Pool v. Bell, 209 Conn. 536 (1989)

The Court held, as a matter of judicial policy, that counsel may not suggest an appropriate amount of monetary recovery in their closing arguments in cases for damages resulting from injury or death.

PA 89-319 permits attorneys to state to the jury, using lump sums or mathematical formulas, the specific amount of damages they think are recoverable in personal injury and wrongful death actions.

52-216c*

Secondino v. New Haven Gas Co., 147 Conn. 672 (1960)

In a line of cases highlighted by above case, the Court established that a party's failure to produce a witness within its power to produce, and who would naturally have been produced, permitted the inference that his evidence would have been unfavorable to the party's cause. The party trying to make the inference had to prove the witness (1) was available, (2) was one whom the party would naturally produce, and (3) had testimony that was material or substantial and not merely cumulative or inferior to testimony already heard. If proven, the judge could instruct the jury that it could infer the testimony would have been adverse.

PA 98-50 overrules the Secondino cases by prohibiting a court in a civil trial from instructing the jury that an unfavorable inference may be drawn from a party's failure to call a witness. But it preserves the ability of counsel for any party to assert during closing argument that an adverse inference should be drawn from another party's failure to do so.

52-557*

Cheshire v. McKinney, 182 Conn. 253, 258 (1980)

The Court held that sovereign immunity protects the state from being sued without its consent. Although it generally does not protect towns and local governments, school boards implementing state-mandated special education programs act as the state's agents, and thus share its immunity.

PA 00-133 allows people, including special education students, to sue school boards or towns when they are injured going to or from school in state-mandated transportation. Previously, only people injured while being taken to or from regular education programs could sue.

52-572h

Bhinder v. Sun Co. , 246 Conn. 223 (1998)

The Court held that liability may be apportioned in a negligence lawsuit between negligent defendants and defendants whose willful, wanton, or reckless conduct also caused the injuries or death. The Court concluded that although state law does not authorize this, common law should be expanded to allow it.

PA 99-69 prohibits apportionment of liability for damages between parties liable as a result of their negligence and those liable on any other basis. It specifies that, as under prior law, apportionment between or among negligent parties is permitted in lawsuits filed in any statutory cause of action based on negligence, including the wrongful death statute and the statute allowing lawsuits against the state for any state official's or employee's negligent operation of a state-owned and insured motor vehicle.

52-592

Capers v. Lee, 239 Conn. 265 (1996)

The Court held that a notice of claim filed with the Office of the Claims Commissioner does not constitute an action under the accidental failure of suit statute, which authorizes a lawsuit to be filed within one year after an action was dismissed by the court because it lacked jurisdiction, there was a problem with service, or for other specified reasons, even though the statute of limitation for filing the lawsuit expired.

PA 98-20 allows someone who is otherwise authorized to sue the state to file a lawsuit against the state even if the statute of limitation has expired.

53-29 – 53-31b*

State v. Menillo, 171 Conn. 141 (1976)

Despite a federal injunction rendering unenforceable state criminal statutes on abortion, the state Supreme Court held that the criminal sanctions are enforceable against a nonphysician who performs an abortion.

PA 90-113 repeals the criminal statutes on abortion.

53-39a

Martinez v. Dept. of Public Safety, 263 Conn. 74 (2003)

The Court held that state police are barred from suing to enforce their indemnification rights.

PA 03-97 authorizes police officers exonerated of criminal charges stemming from on-duty activities to enforce their indemnification rights by filing a Superior Court action.

53a-40

State v. Bell, 283 Conn. 748 (2007)

The Court ruled that the persistent dangerous felony offender statute violates a defendant's federal constitutional right to a jury trial when the court, rather than the jury, determines that extended incarceration for such an offender best serves the public interest, given the defendant's history and character, and the nature and circumstances of the criminal offenses.

The Court ruled that a convicted offender has the right to have a jury make the findings about whether he or she should be subject to the more stringent penalties associated with the persistent dangerous felony offender classification.

PA 08-1, January Special Session, eliminates the required findings and instead requires the court to impose the higher penalty on an offender who meets the criteria of a persistent dangerous felony offender.

54-86f

State v. Mastropetro, 175 Conn. 512 (1978)

The Court held that evidence of a rape victim's prior sexual conduct is not admissible on the issue of consent when the accused does not raise consent as a defense and it is not otherwise an issue in the case; it is admissible on the issue of the victim's credibility if (1) the victim testified on direct examination that she was chaste before the assault or evidence was first submitted as to the existence of semen in the victim after the alleged assault and (2) the evidence is so relevant and material to a central issue that barring its admission would violate the accused's constitutional rights.

PA 82-230 provides that evidence of a rape victim's prior sexual conduct is not admissible except when its value as proof outweighs the prejudicial effect on the victim and (1) the evidence is so relevant and material to a central issue that barring its admission would violate the accused's constitutional rights, (2) it is evidence of prior sexual conduct with persons other than the accused which is either (a) offered by the accused on the issue of whether the accused was the source of semen, disease, pregnancy, or injury or (b) offered by the accused on the issue of the victim's credibility if she testified on direct examination about her prior sexual conduct or (3) it is evidence of prior sexual conduct with the accused, offered by the accused on the issue of the victim's consent, when consent is raised as a defense.

*Although we conclude that this legislation is contrary to a court decision, we recognize that it passed at least 14 years (and in most cases 20 years) after the case was decided.

SNE:dw