ANDREA ROBLES ET AL.
WEST AVENUE DENTAL, P.C., ET AL.
May 30, 2018
to recover damages for, inter alia, the defendants'
alleged negligent supervision, and for other relief, brought
to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Stamford-Norwalk and tried to the jury before Povodator,
J.; verdict and judgment for the plaintiffs, from which
the named defendant et al. appealed to this court.
Kristan Peters-Hamlin, for the appellants (named defendant et
D. Dauplaise, with whom, on the brief, was Victoria deToledo,
for the appellee (named plaintiff).
Sheldon, Prescott and Bear, Js.
defendants West Avenue Dental, P.C., and Hrishikesh
Gogate appeal from the judgment of the trial
court, rendered after a jury trial, awarding damages to the
plaintiff Andrea Robles,  their former employee, for injuries she
suffered due to the defendants' negligent supervision of
one of her male coworkers, who sexually harassed her at work
over an extended period of time. The defendants challenge the
judgment on the ground that the verdict on which it was
rendered was returned after the court erroneously determined
that it could not accept the jury's original
plaintiff's verdict awarding Robles $0 in damages because
that verdict was inherently inconsistent, and, thus,
improperly required the jury to conduct further deliberations
to resolve the alleged inconsistency instead of accepting the
original verdict and rendering judgment on it. The defendants
claim on appeal that the court erred in concluding that the
jury's original verdict was inherently inconsistent, and,
thus, in refusing to accept and render judgment on that
verdict. They argue that an award of $0 in damages was
reasonable in this case because the damages claimed by Robles
were largely speculative and unproved, and any damages she
did prove could have been reduced by the jury under the
court's instructions on their special defense of failure
to mitigate damages. Finally, the defendants, claiming that
the court erred in instructing the jury that it must award
Robles at least some damages if it found the defendants
liable for negligent supervision, ask this court to restore
the original plaintiff's verdict awarding Robles $0 in
damages. Robles, in opposition to the defendants' claim,
argues principally that the defendants are not entitled to
prevail on that claim because they failed to assert it at
trial, and, thus, they failed to preserve it for appellate
review. In light of the following facts and procedural
history, we agree with Robles that the defendants'
present claim was not preserved at trial and, thus, that it
cannot be reviewed on appeal.
and one of her former female coworkers filed a twenty-two
count complaint against the defendants arising, inter alia,
from the defendants' alleged failure to supervise one of
their male coworkers who repeatedly sexually harassed them
while they were in the defendants' employ. Eleven counts
of the complaint were brought on behalf of Robles.
lengthy trial, the jury found in favor of the defendants on
ten of Robles' eleven counts against them. This appeal
concerns only her seventh count, in which she pleaded the
claim of negligent supervision on which she prevailed at
trial. In that count, Robles alleged, inter alia, that the
defendants failed to properly supervise one of her male
coworkers whom they had a duty to supervise, and thereby
allowed him to engage in sexually inappropriate conduct
toward her, that the defendants were aware or should have
been aware of her coworker's sexually inappropriate
conduct toward her but failed take action to stop it, and,
that as a result of the defendants' failure to take
action to stop her coworker's sexually harassing conduct
toward her, she suffered financial losses and emotional
distress. The jury was instructed on that count, in relevant
part, as follows: ‘‘A claim for negligent
supervision . . . establishes direct liability for an
employer who fails to exercise reasonable care in supervising
. . . an employee. In order to prevail on a negligent
supervision claim, [the] [plaintiff] must . . . prove that
[she] suffered an injury due to the defendant[s'] failure
to supervise an employee whom the defendant[s] had [a] duty
to supervise. . . .
respect to the [claim] of negligent supervision . . . proof
of an actual injury is a necessary part of the claim. The
[plaintiff] [is] not entitled to recover under
negligence-based claims if [she does] not also prove an
actual injury-something more than a technical or nominal
injury. . . .'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
The jury was provided a copy of the jury charge and a set of
interrogatories, a worksheet and verdict forms to complete
during its deliberations.
jury initially filled out the interrogatories regarding
Robles' negligent supervision claim as follows:
‘‘Did [Robles] prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence that the defendants were negligent in their
supervision of [her male coworker]? Yes. . . .
the defendants prove that [Robles] . . . was negligent, as
alleged by the defendants? Yes. . . .
parties proved that the respective negligence of the parties
is as follows (must add up to 100 [percent]): Negligence of
defendants: 50 ...