As a new addition in 2011, I am going to regularly feature new business lawsuits along with the usual trial and appellate decisions of interest in Connecticut. Here's the first installment:
Appellate Court finds that $150,000 mechanic's lien was timely filed despite claim that it was made after statutory limit of 90 days from date "services" were performed. The decision includes a discussion of the legislative history of the mechanic's lien statute and the definition of "services" under the statute. The court determined that services includes work done in or utilized in the building to be constructed, raised, removed, or reparied or the improvement of any lot or subdivision. In this case, the court construed the mechanic's lien statute liberally and found that that contractor returning to the property at the request of the homeowner to investigate alleged deficiencies constituted lienable services.
Appellate Court finds that homeowner who raised the Home Improvement Act's technical requirements of start and finish date in bad faith. The Home Improvement Act in Connecticut requires registered contractors to include the following in written agreements:
- signatures of owner and contractor
- name and address of contractor
- cancellation rights
- start date and completion date
Failure to include these requirements can result in technical defenses to enforcement of a home improvement contract. However, a homeowner cannot successfully raise these defenses in bad faith. In this case, the homeowner had no real dispute with the work but refused to pay. The Appellate Court upheld a finding of bad faith when the homeowner tried to raise the lack of start date and completion date in the contract.
Read here for one of my old posts on Connecticut's Home Improvement Act requirements and defenses.
Environmental Energy Services, Inc v. Cylenchar Limited, et al. United States District Court.
Plaintiff Environmental is a Connecticut corporation and claims that Defendants (both from England) made misrepresentations which induced plaintiff to perform services. Plaintiff claims breach of a partnership agreement, unjust enrichment, fraud, and violation of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. Plaintiff alleges that it was in a joint venture business with Defendants to market a technology that removes mercury from exhaust gasses in coal fired utilities. Pursuant to the joint venture, Defendants were to provide a significant cash investment, provide technical assistance, and a license. Plaintiff was to market the technology. Plaintiff alleges that it spent significant sums marketing the technology and gaining a trial customer for the new technology at which time the Defendants issued a cease and desist to Plaintiffs and refused to continue with the joint venture.
Tellar v. Webber, et al. State Judicial District of Hartford.
Plaintiff and Defendant were equal owners of a limited liability company (LLC) engaged in the relish making business. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, his co-owner, dissolved the LLC without consent and started another relish business. Plaintiff alleges the Defendant did so without sharing profits or including Plaintiff. Plaintiff brought suit as an individual and derivatively on behalf of the the LLC against his co-owner in the LLC and the co-owner's new business. The Plaintiff claimed breach of contract to share profits, breach of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, civil theft, unfair trade practices, and usurping a corporate opportunity.