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Stone v. East Coast Swappers, LLC

Appellate Court of Connecticut

July 2, 2019

Thomas G. STONE III
v.
EAST COAST SWAPPERS, LLC

         Argued January 31, 2019

         Appeal from the Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford, Noble, J.

Page 500

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 501

          William J. O’Sullivan, with whom was Michelle M. Seery, Wethersfield, for the appellant (plaintiff).

         Juri E. Taalman, Hartford, with whom, on the brief, was Joseph R. Serrantino, Middletown, for the appellee (defendant).

         Alvord, Bright and Norcott, Js.

          OPINION

         ALVORD, J.

         [191 Conn.App. 65] The plaintiff, Thomas G. Stone III, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, finding that the defendant, East Coast Swappers, LLC, had violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and awarding the plaintiff compensatory damages, but declining to award punitive damages and attorney’s fees. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred when it failed to award him attorney’s fees. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts, as found by the trial court, and procedural history are relevant to our resolution of this appeal. Patrick Keithan, at the time, the plaintiff’s son-in-law, purchased a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in February, 2010, from a dealership in Savannah, Georgia. Keithan was in the military service and stationed in Georgia. He financed the purchase of the car, in part, through a loan from Wachovia Dealer Services, Inc.,[1] in the amount of approximately $24,362.49.

          Shortly thereafter, the car’s engine experienced performance issues, for reasons not disclosed at trial. Keithan towed the car from Georgia to Windsor Locks, [191 Conn.App. 66] Connecticut, where the defendant, a motor vehicle repair shop, was located. The defendant first replaced the car’s turbocharger for $2000, which Keithan paid for by credit card. Following the replacement of the turbocharger, the engine still was found to be inoperable. Keithan returned to Georgia to fulfill his military service obligations and left the car with the defendant.

         Keithan ultimately decided that he wanted the defendant to install a Buschur Racing short block.[2] Paul Scott, a co-owner of the defendant, drafted an estimate for this work, which he forwarded to Keithan. The estimate, dated August 17, 2010, referenced the purchase of the Buschur Racing short block and its installation, and estimated a cost of $9028.89.

          The plaintiff loaned Keithan $9000 to pay the defendant. The plaintiff’s wife prepared a promissory note for the loan, which contemplated the title and car being held by the plaintiff while the note remained unpaid. The note, dated September

Page 502

14, 2010, was executed by Keithan and his wife, the plaintiff’s daughter. Keithan’s wife then forwarded a check to the ...


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