Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New Britain, New Britain
Reginald Finno et al.
Rosa Rebimbas et al Opinion No. 133487
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
EMMETT WIESE, JUDGE
plaintiffs, Reginald Finno and the Reginald P. Finno Family
2005 Revocable Trust, filed this action against the
defendant, Rosa Rebimbas and her firm, the Law Offices of
Rosa C. Rebimbas, LLC for legal malpractice regarding a power
of attorney form. According to the October 1, 2014 complaint,
the plaintiffs executed a contractual agreement to invest
with a third-party investment firm, First Financial, LLC,
owed by Feisal Sharif, but later discovered that First
Financial was engaged in a fraudulent Ponzi scheme. The
plaintiffs assert that the defendant served as legal counsel
to First Financial and as " reasonably diligent legal
counsel" should have inquired into the validity of First
Financial's operations and profits. The plaintiffs
allege that because of the defendant's negligence and
carelessness, the plaintiffs have suffered significant
financial losses and damages. Count one sounds in negligence
against the defendant, count two incorporates the paragraphs
of count one against the defendant's law firm.
November 16, 2015, the defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment (110.00) and supporting memorandum of law (111.00).
On January 11, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a memorandum in
opposition to the motion (114.00). The defendant filed a
reply memorandum to the plaintiffs' objection (115.00) on
January 15, 2016. Parties presented oral argument at short
calendar on January 19, 2016.
motion for summary judgment, the defendant argues that the
plaintiffs lack standing because they do not have an
attorney-client relationship with the defendant, nor does the
defendant owe a duty to the plaintiffs. Furthermore, even if
the court were to find standing, the defendant contends that
the plaintiffs failed to disclose an expert witness and that
the statute of limitations pursuant to General Statutes
§ 52-577 bars the legal malpractice claims. In their
opposition, the plaintiffs maintain that the defendant, as
legal counsel and attorney in fact for Sharif, owes a duty to
intended beneficiaries such as the plaintiffs.
[S]ummary judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, affidavits and other proof submitted show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law .
. . In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the trial
court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party." (Internal quotation marks
omitted.) Stuart v. Freiberg, 316 Conn. 809, 820-21,
116 A.3d 1195 (2015). " [A]lthough the use of a motion
for summary judgment may be a proper vehicle to raise issues
of subject matter jurisdiction in some cases . . . generally,
[t]he proper procedural vehicle for disputing a party's
standing is a motion to dismiss . . . We see no reason to
deviate from the general practice in the present case.
Consequently, we treat the defendant's motion for summary
judgment as a motion to dismiss." (Citations omitted;
internal quotation marks omitted.) Sethi v.
Yagildere, 136 Conn.App. 767, 770 n.6, 47 A.3d 892,
cert. denied, 307 Conn. 905, 53 A.3d 220 (2012). " [T]he
plaintiff bears the burden of proving subject matter
jurisdiction, whenever and however raised." (Internal
quotation marks omitted.) Fort Trumbull Conservancy, LLC
v. New London, 265 Conn. 423, 430 n.12, 829 A.2d 801
implicates a court's subject matter jurisdiction.
Stamford Hospital v. Vega, 236 Conn. 646, 656, 674
A.2d 821 (1996). " Where a plaintiff lacks standing to
sue, the court is without subject matter jurisdiction."
Steeneck v. University of Bridgeport, 235 Conn. 572,
580, 668 A.2d 688 (1995). " Standing is the legal right
to set judicial machinery in motion. One cannot rightfully
invoke the jurisdiction of the court unless he [or she] has,
in an individual or representative capacity, some real
interest in the cause of action, or a legal or equitable
right, title or interest in the subject matter of the
controversy." (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
Williams v. Commission on Human Rights &
Opportunities, 257 Conn. 258, 264-65, 777 A.2d 645
(2001)." See also Hunter v. Olschelski,
Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven at Meriden,
Docket No. CV-01-0276707-S (March 19, 2002, Skolnick, J.) (31
Conn. L. Rptr. 585).
& Legal Malpractice
In general, the plaintiff in an attorney malpractice action
must establish: (1) the existence of an attorney-client
relationship; (2) the attorney's wrongful act or
omission; (3) causation; and (4) damages." Mayer v.
Biafore, Florek & O'Neill, 245 Conn. 88, 92, 713
A.2d 1267 (1998). " As a general rule, attorneys are not
liable to persons other than their clients for the negligent
rendering of services." (Internal quotation marks
omitted.) Goodyear v. Discala, 269 Conn. 507, 517,
849 A.2d 791 (2004). " The failure to allege or
establish the existence of [an attorney-client] relationship
implicates a plaintiff's standing and therefore the
court's subject matter jurisdiction." Spezzano
v. Andersen, Superior Court, judicial district ...