to recover damages for, inter alia, the defendants'
alleged negligence, and for other relief, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where
the action was withdrawn in part; thereafter, the matter was
tried to the jury before Dubay, J.; verdict for the
defendants; subsequently, the court denied the
plaintiff's motions to set aside the verdict and for a
new trial, and rendered judgment in accordance with the
verdict, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court;
thereafter, the court, Dubay, J., issued an
articulation of its decision.
Serrano, for the appellant (plaintiff).
S. McCabe, with whom, on the brief, was Allison
Reilly-Bombara, for the appellees (defendants).
Lavine, Prescott and Bishop, Js.
plaintiff, Ussbasy Garcia, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the
defendants, Robert Cohen and Diane N. Cohen. On appeal, the
plaintiff claims that the court erred by rejecting her
request to charge and failing to instruct the jury that the
possessor of real property has a nondelegable duty to
maintain the premises. We affirm the judgment of the trial
record discloses the following facts that the jury reasonably
could have found on the basis of the evidence presented at
trial. On January 19, 2014, the defendants owned the premises
at 390 West Main Street, New Britain, where the plaintiff was
a tenant in a second floor apartment. At approximately 11:45
that morning, the plaintiff was carrying a basket of laundry
down the rear, exterior stairs of the premises when she fell
and sustained serious injuries to her left leg and ankle.
plaintiff commenced a defective premises action against the
defendants in January, 2016. The plaintiff alleged that her
injuries were proximately caused by the defendants'
negligence in that they failed to keep the stairs free of
dirt and sand; permitted the steps to become pitted, worn,
and uneven; and failed to warn of the slippery condition of
the stairs. The defendants denied the material allegations of
the complaint and alleged certain special defenses in that
the plaintiff's injuries were the result of her own
negligence. The plaintiff denied the allegations of
the special defenses.
trial, Robert Cohen testified, among other things, that he
owned several properties and that three or four people worked
with him to maintain the premises. He hired a contractor to
take care of the lawn and remove snow. The plaintiff
submitted a request to charge and proposed jury
interrogatories. The court declined to use the
plaintiff's proposed charge and did not submit the
interrogatories to the jury. Following the presentation of
evidence, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the
defendants. The plaintiff thereafter filed a motion to set
aside the verdict on the ground that (1) the verdict was
contrary to law in that the court failed to properly charge
the jury in accordance with her request to charge, (2) the
court failed to submit her proposed jury interrogatories to
the jury, and (3) the verdict was against the evidence. The
plaintiff also filed a motion for a new trial. The defendants
objected to both the plaintiff's motion to set aside the
verdict and her motion for a new trial. The court denied the
plaintiff's motion to set aside the verdict and her
motion for a new trial.
plaintiff appealed and thereafter filed a motion for
articulation with the trial court. The court granted the
motion for articulation and stated: ‘‘The factual
and legal basis for the court's not charging on
nondelegable duty are set forth in [the] defendants'
memorandum [of law] in support of [their] objection to [the]
plaintiff's motion for a new trial . . . . The court
specifically adopted the legal basis and factual analysis in
its ruling. There was no evidence or argument that anyone
other than the defendants [were] responsible for the
maintenance of the stairway.''
appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in refusing
to give her proposed charge that the possessor of real
property has a nondelegable duty to maintain the premises in
a reasonably safe condition for invitees. During oral
argument before us, we asked the parties whether the appeal
was controlled by the general verdict rule and invited
counsel to submit supplemental briefs on the
question. We now conclude that review of the
plaintiff's appeal is precluded by the general verdict
rule. See Curry v. Burns, 225 Conn. 782, 793, 626
A.2d 719 (1993) (general verdict rule applies on appeal to
preclude certain claims).
Supreme Court has held that ‘‘the general verdict
rule applies to the following five situations: (1) denial of
separate counts of a complaint; (2) denial of separate
defenses pleaded as such; (3) denial of separate legal
theories of recovery or defense pleaded in one count or
defense, as the case may be; (4) denial of a complaint
and pleading of a special defense; and (5) denial of a
specific defense, raised under a general denial, that had
been asserted as the case was tried but that should have been
specially pleaded.'' (Emphasis added; internal
quotation marks omitted.) Tetreau ...