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Brathwaite v. Walker

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Fairfield, Bridgeport

September 8, 2015

Karleen Brathwaite
v.
Max W. Walker

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

Richard P. Gilardi, Judge Trial Referee.

This is a cause of action filed by the plaintiff, Karleen Brathwaite, against the defendant, Max W. Walker.

The plaintiff alleges and testified that from October 6, 2008 to May 2011, at the request of the defendant, she had given him cash loans totaling $70, 043.78. (The specific amounts of the cash loans will be delineated.) Although he had agreed to reimburse the plaintiff, he has refused to do so. The plaintiff did acknowledge a credit to the defendant of $5, 000 for minor carpentry work the defendant did on property she owned and an unpaid balance of $1, 800 for rent while leasing a portion of the defendants' premises. As such, the plaintiff is requesting a total judgment of $65, 886.50 plus postjudgment interest.

" It is well established that in cases tried before courts, trial judges are the sole arbiters of the credibility of witnesses and it is they who determine the weight to be given specific testimony . . . it is the quintessential function of the factfinder to reject or accept certain evidence . . ." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) In re Antonio M., 56 Conn.App. 534, 540, 744 A.2d 915 (2000). " The sifting and weighing of evidence is peculiarly the function of the trier [of fact]." Smith v. Smith, 183 Conn. 121, 123, 438 A.2d 842 (1981). " [N]othing in our law is more elementary than that the trier [of fact] is the final judge of the credibility of witnesses and of the weight to be accorded to the testimony." (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Toffolon v. Avon, 173 Conn. 525, 530, 378 A.2d 580 (1977); Smith v. Smith, supra, 183 Conn. 123. " The determination of credibility is a function of the trial court." Heritage Square, LLC v. Eoanou, 61 Conn.App. 329, 333, 764 A.2d 199 (2001).

Based on the testimony and evidence the court found to be credible, as well as the post-trial briefs of the respective parties, the court makes the following factual and legal conclusions.

In May of 2008 the plaintiff, Karleen Brathwaite, who had worked at Bridgeport Hospital for 30 years, retired as a case manager. She was also in the middle of divorce proceedings.

At that time she met the defendant, Max Walker, who was an unemployed carpenter with joint custody of five children. Their initial friendship evolved into a romantic relationship. While the plaintiff was in a vulnerable state of mind, the defendant took advantage of the relationship by beginning to request dozens of cash loans for his personal use. He promised that he would reimburse her for all the monies loaned.

The defendant denies that any of the monies he received were loans and that he did not owe the plaintiff any reimbursement.

The plaintiff testified as to the following specific cash loans made to the defendant:

On October 6, 2008 the plaintiff loaned the defendant $10, 000 for a new pickup truck as the one he had used was owned by his prior employer who terminated his employment.

On that date she also loaned him $2, 000 to buy a new furnace.

On December 22, 2008 the plaintiff loaned the defendant $3, 000 to finance a trip to his original birthplace, Jamaica.

On December 22, 2008 the plaintiff loaned $3, 000 to the defendant for the renovations he was making in the basement of his house to provide living quarters for his children during his biweekly custody.

On January 10, 2009 the plaintiff loaned the defendant $2, 000 to construct a kitchen in his basement.

On January 21, 2009 the plaintiff loaned the defendant $2, 000 to buy a new furnace.

On January 30, 2009 the plaintiff loaned the defendant $1, 000 for a ...


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