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Connectiuct Business Litigation Blog
Commentary on lawsuits and legal issues impacting Connecticut businesses. Authored by experienced business litigation attorney, Kane Bennett of Aeton Law Partners, LLP.
The Connecticut Judicial Branch will implement mandatory electronic filing in Connecticut state superior courts in all civil cases by December 5, 2009. The Judicial Branch is also going paperless for short calendar and notices will no longer be sent by paper in the mail (unless the firm or litigant is exempt) starting September 1, 2009. The mandatory e-filing will be implemented in phases as follows: E-filing will be available in all remaining civil cases (with few exceptions) starting August 22, 2009. E-filing is mandatory in all foreclosure cases starting September 1, 2009. E-filing is mandatory in all remaining civil cases starting December 5, 2009. Law firms and attorneys can receive e-filing training in each judicial district. E-filing will be mandatory starting December in Connecticut in both state superior and federal district courts unless a law firm or litigant qualifies for an exemption.
In an issue of first impression, the Connecticut Supreme Court confirmed that partnerships can expel a partner rather than dissolve when there is a breakdown of the business of the partnership. The case is Brennan v. Brennan Associates, et al. The official opinion will be released on August 18, 2009, but the advanced opinion already was released online. The case involves a complicated set of facts and circumstances surrounding the deterioration of a once successful partnership that operated a shopping center in Trumbull. The breakdown of the partnership began after the death of a partner. The decedent partner essentially ran the partnership and kept all the books until his death. The decedent’s will directed that his interest go to his two cousins. Following the will reading, the partnership broke down over disputes on check writing authority, access to records, the transfer of interest, and an old tax conviction of a surviving partner who was the plaintiff in the case. The plaintiff offered to buy out the decedent’s interest, which as rejected by the estate. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking, among other things, to accomplish a buy out of the decedent’s partnership interest and to gain access to the books and records. The surviving partners wanted to continue the partnership’s business rather than dissolving it. As such, in addition to other claims by the defendant administrators, they filed a counterclaim application seeking to expel the plaintiff from the partnership under section 34-355 of Connecticut’s Uniform Partnership Act. The statutory scheme at issue permits a trial court to grant an application for expulsion if a partner engages in conduct that "makes
If your business is advertising on Facebook, or considering it, you should do some research on the newest allegations of advertising fraud against the online giant. Facebook reportedly has over 250 million users so it is understandable that a business would want access to Facebook’s users. Facebook offers businesses advertising space online that is targeted to specific demographics of its users. Facebook charges for the advertising based on the number of views or clicks that the ad receives from users. As reported by TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, massive complaints started surfacing recently against Facebook for "click fraud." Basically, advertisers were clicking on competitor’s ads, or paying others to do it, to artificially drive the price up. Advertisers were also reporting that Facebook was charging for more clicks than the ad was actually receiving. There are now three lawsuits filed against Facebook for advertising click fraud. The most recent lawsuit was filed on July 31st by an individual advertiser seeking class action status. The second lawsuit was filed by Unified ECM, a software company, seeking class action status for massive click fraud by Facebook. The first click fraud lawsuit was filed by sports company RootZoo and it also seeks class action status. BNET Media’s Catharine Taylor posted a good report on the details of the first two lawsuits including email comments from Facebook. In the email, Facebook maintained that the Unified lawsuit is "unnecessary and baseless." Wendy Davis of Online Media Daly posted a good report on the fist lawsuit by RootZoo. All three suits alleged discrepancies between the charges by Facebook and the actual number of clicks recorded by the advertisers. Although
Connecticut’s Home Improvement Act requires contractors performing home improvement services to register and to comply with it provisions concerning contracts with homeowners. The Act has a series of requirements for contracts as follows: Contract must be in writing; Contract must include the contractors registration number; Contract must include four dates: date of signing, date work will begin, date of completion, and date by which the homeowner may cancel the contract; and Contract must contain specific notice provision of the homeowner’s right to cancel the contract within three business days after signing. If a contractor fails to comply with these contractual requirements, the contractor risks non-payment by the homeowner. If a homeowner refuses to pay, the contractor likely will not be able to recover payment with a lawsuit in court absent some showing that the homeowner acted in bad faith. This can bring about a harsh and inequitable result in some cases. In Drain Doctor, Inc. v . Jason Lyman, the Appellate Court recently had to consider the potential harsh consequences of failing to comply with the Home Improvement Act. The contractor at issue in the case had to perform plumbing work below the surface of the home and driveway in order to make the home habitable. The contract was oral. The contractor repaired a sewer a line under the home and a storm drain under the driveway. The contractor finished the job and then restored the driveway and grass. The homeowner refused to pay. The contractor brought a lawsuit, but had it stricken by the trial court because the homeowner alleged
Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz, has fined an affiliate of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu approximately $22,000 in the past year for failing to register to do business in Connecticut. The fines were reported on by Lynn Doan of The Hartford Courant and also picked up by Alexander Soule in the Fairfield County Business Journal. Deloitte’s unit is one of the larger employers in Fairfield County, but as an out-of-state company it apparently failed to register to do business in Connecticut for more than 10 years. The fine to Deloitte’s unit was the biggest this year. The State’s authority to issue the fines arise from Connecticut General Statutes section 33-921concerning foreign corporations. Attorney General Blumenthal issued a press announcement that the State collected more than 1.2 million in fines during fiscal year 2009 pursuant to this statute. The statute provides for penalties if a foreign corporation fails to register to do business in Connecticut. The statute provides that the foreign corporation must pay: (1) all fees and taxes which would have been imposed . . .had it . . . received such certificate of authority to transact business . . . and (2) all interest and penalties . . .. A foreign corporation is further liable to this state, for each month or part thereof during which it transacted business without a certificate of authority, in an amount equal to one hundred sixty-five dollars . . . Such fees and penalties may be levied by the Secretary of the State. Although the fines might seem significant enough to act as
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