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Soleau v. Soucier

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Hartford, Hartford

January 20, 2017

ZCHRISTOPHER SOLEAU, Et Al,
v.
DANIEL SOUCIER, ET AL

          RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (#119)

          ROBERT B. SHAPIRO, JUDGE.

         The court heard argument at short calendar on November 21, 2016 concerning the defendant Daniel Soucier, Diversified Group Brokerage Corp. (DGB), and BCD Holdings LLC (BCD)'s motion for summary judgment, dated October 2, 2015.

         After considering the parties' arguments, the court issues this ruling. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied as to the First, Second, Third, Tenth and Twelfth Counts, and, treated as a motion to strike, is granted as to the Eleventh and Thirteenth Counts.

         I

         " In seeking summary judgment, it is the movant who has the burden of showing the nonexistence of any issue of fact. The courts are in entire agreement that the moving party for summary judgment has the burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue as to all the material facts, which, under applicable principles of substantive law, entitle him to a judgment as a matter of law. The courts hold the movant to a strict standard. To satisfy his burden the movant must make a showing that it is quite clear what the truth is, and that excludes any real doubt as to the existence of any genuine issue of material fact.... As the burden of proof is on the movant, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the opponent.... When documents submitted in support of a motion for summary judgment fail to establish that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party has no obligation to submit documents establishing the existence of such an issue.... Once the moving party has met its burden, however, the opposing party must present evidence that demonstrates the existence of some disputed factual issue...." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Romprey v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America, 310 Conn. 304, 319-20, 77 A.3d 726 (2013).

         " A material fact... [is] a fact which will make a difference in the result of the case." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 312-13.

         II

         First, Second, and Third Counts General Statutes § 45a-541i (a) provides, " A trustee may delegate investment and management functions that a prudent trustee of comparable skills could properly delegate under the circumstances. The trustee shall exercise reasonable care, skill and caution in: (1) Selecting an agent; (2) establishing the scope and terms of the delegation, consistent with the purposes and terms of the trust; and (3) periodically reviewing the agent's actions in order to monitor the agent's performance and compliance with the scope and terms of the delegation."

         As to subsection (3), in their memorandum, page 9, the movants argue that, here, monitoring was unnecessary since Soucier delegated his powers to the co-trustee defendants, who had a fiduciary duty to manage the Trust's assets and had the power to act as a majority without him. No legal authority is cited for this proposition. In essence, the argument concedes that no monitoring by Soucier occurred.

         In the absence of citation to any legal authority, the court is not required to address this summary judgment argument, which is briefed inadequately. See Glazer v. Dress Barn, Inc., 21A Conn. 33, 86 n.37, 873 A.2d 929 (2005). In addition, the plaintiffs' presentation raises genuine issues of material fact as to breach of fiduciary duty, as to whether the other trustees acted as trustees.

         III

         Tenth and Twelfth Counts

         As pleaded, and as acknowledged by the movants in their memorandum, page 12, these counts seek relief against DGB and BCD for aiding and abetting Soucier in the breach of his fiduciary duty, and are derivative in nature. See Ethimiou v. Smith,268 Conn. 499, 504-05, 846 A.2d 222 (2004). Since there are material issues of fact in ...


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