October 24, 2018
to recover damages for, inter alia, legal malpractice, and
for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the
judicial district of Fairfield, where the court,
Radcliffe, J., granted the plaintiff's
motion to cite in Bai, Pollack, Blueweiss & Mulcahey,
P.C., as a party defendant; thereafter, the court,
Arnold, J., granted the defendants'
motion to dismiss and rendered judgment thereon, from which
the plaintiff appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Kenneth A. Votre, for the appellant (plaintiff).
Michael R. Keller, with whom were Eva M. Kolstad and, on the
brief, James L. Brawley, for the appellees (defendants).
Alvord, Bright and Beach, Js.
plaintiff, David Dubinsky, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the
defendants, Veronica Reich and Bai, Pollack, Blueweiss &
Mulcahey, P.C. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court
improperly concluded that the defendants were entitled to
absolute immunity. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to our
resolution of the plaintiff's claim. Reich is an attorney
with the law firm of Bai, Pollack, Blueweiss & Mulcahey,
P.C. In the prior marital dissolution action between the
plaintiff and his former wife; see Dubinsky v.
Dubinsky, Superior Court, judicial district of
Fair-field, Docket No. FA-12-4040496-S; Reich served as a
court-appointed guardian ad litem for the plaintiff's
operative complaint,  dated September 9, 2016, the plaintiff
alleged that, on June 23, 2012, shortly before the
dissolution proceedings commenced, he was arrested and
charged with risk of injury to a child in violation of
General Statutes § 53-21, assault in the third degree in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-61, and disorderly
conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182. The
plaintiff alleged that, as a result, criminal protective
orders were issued by the court, which prevented him from
seeing his minor child and required him to stay away from his
marital home. The plaintiff alleged that, on August 30, 2012,
the criminal protective orders were dismissed. The plaintiff
further alleged that, on January 28, 2013, the Department of
Children and Families concluded that the charges against him
were not substantiated and that there was no basis for a
finding of abuse or neglect of his minor child.
plaintiff alleged claims of legal malpractice, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of
emotional distress against the defendants. The plaintiff
alleged that Reich ‘‘continued to hold [the
criminal charges and protective orders] against the
[p]laintiff, despite clear resolution in his favor.''
The plaintiff alleged that, in doing so, Reich
‘‘vindictively, intentionally and . . .
recklessly'' limited the plaintiff's access to
his minor child, which was contrary to the best interests of
the child. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that Reich
wrongfully recommended to the court supervised visitation
between the plaintiff and his minor child and recommended
against the use of coparenting counseling. The plaintiff
claimed that Reich's actions ‘‘caused [him]
to suffer severe emotional distress and anxiety in being
separated from his minor son and stepdaughter, the
humiliation of supervised visitation with his minor son, the
emotional distress of not being able to return to [his]
marital home, and the loss of reputation in the
November 4, 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss
the plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction on the grounds that they were entitled to
absolute immunity and that the plaintiff lacked standing to
assert claims of legal malpractice. On January 12, 2017, the
plaintiff filed a memorandum of law in opposition to the
defendants' motion to dismiss in which he contended that
the defendants were not entitled to absolute immunity and
that, even if they were, they still would be liable
‘‘for the intentional actions undertaken by
[Reich] that were outside the scope of her duty as a
[guardian ad litem].'' The plaintiff also asserted
that he had standing because he had a relationship with the
defendants as a result of a retainer agreement. On January 17,
2017, the court held a hearing on the motion. The court
issued its memorandum of decision on April 27, 2017, granting
the defendants' motion to dismiss. The court ruled that
the defendants were entitled to absolute immunity and that
the plaintiff lacked standing with respect to his claims of
legal malpractice. This appeal followed.
standard of review for a court's decision on a motion to
dismiss is well settled. ‘‘A motion to dismiss
tests, inter alia, whether, on the face of the record, the
court is without jurisdiction. . . . [O]ur review of the
court's ultimate legal conclusion and resulting
[determination] of the motion to dismiss will be de novo. . .
. When a . . . court decides a jurisdictional question raised
by a pretrial motion to dismiss, it must consider the
allegations of the complaint in their most favorable light. .
. . In this regard, a court must take the facts to be those
alleged in the complaint, including those facts necessarily
implied from the allegations, construing them in a manner
most favorable to the pleader. . . . In undertaking this
review, we are mindful of the well established notion that,
in determining whether a court has subject matter
jurisdiction, every presumption favoring jurisdiction should
be indulged.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
Villages, LLC v. Longhi, 166 Conn.App. 685, 698, 142
A.3d 1162, cert. denied, 323 Conn. 915, 149 A.3d 498 (2016).
‘‘[A]bsolute immunity protects a party from suit
and implicates the trial court's subject matter
jurisdiction . . . .'' Bruno v. Travelers
Cos., 172 Conn.App. 717, 729, 161 A.3d 630 (2017).
appeal, the plaintiff claims that the defendants were not
entitled to absolute immunity. Specifically, he argues that
absolute immunity does not apply when a guardian ad litem
performs acts outside of the scope of her jurisdiction and
that ‘‘the jurisdiction of a [guardian ad litem]
in a marital dissolution [action] is limited to taking action
in the best interests of the minor child.'' The
plaintiff argues that Reich ‘‘went ...