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Clasby v. Zimmerman

Appellate Court of Connecticut

July 9, 2019

Robert CLASBY et al.
v.
Edward ZIMMERMAN et al.

         Argued February 4, 2019

Page 1145

         Appeal from the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, Genuario, J.

          Lawrence F. Reilly, with whom was James A. Alissi, Hartford, for the appellant (defendant Bradford Estates, LLC).

         Thomas B. Noonan, Darien, for the appellees (plaintiffs).

         Lavine, Prescott and Elgo, Js.

          OPINION

         PRESCOTT, J.

         [191 Conn.App. 146] The defendant, Bradford Estates, LLC,[1] is a general contracting business hired by the plaintiffs, Robert Clasby and

Page 1146

Krista Clasby, to raise and remodel their shoreline home, which was extensively damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The parties agreed to arbitrate disputes that arose during the construction project, and the defendant now appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its application to confirm a February 4, 2017 arbitration award.[2] The defendant contends that the February 4, 2017 award conclusively established that the defendant was entitled to collect from the plaintiffs a balance of $51,856.65 in materials and labor for certain cabinetry work.

          The defendant’s claim on appeal is essentially two-fold. First, he claims that, because no timely application to vacate, modify or correct the February 4, 2017 award was ever filed, the court was obligated to grant the defendant’s application to confirm the award. Second, the defendant claims that, by denying its application to confirm the February 4, 2017 award, the court effectively and improperly gave legal effect to a subsequent award issued by the arbitration panel on August 23, 2017, in which the arbitration panel clarified that the February 4, 2017 award was not a final determination with respect to the cost of the cabinetry work and reduced the amount that the defendant was entitled to collect for the cabinetry work by more than $20,000.

         [191 Conn.App. 147] We agree with the defendant that the trial court "had no choice" but to grant the defendant’s timely application to confirm the award because neither party filed a timely application to vacate, modify or correct the February 4, 2017 arbitration award. See Rosenthal Law Firm, LLC v. Cohen, 165 Conn.App. 467, 472, 139 A.3d 774, cert. denied, 322 Conn. 904, 138 A.3d 933 (2016). Nevertheless, we do not agree with the remaining aspect of the defendant’s claim that confirmation of the February 4, 2017 award necessarily invalidates or renders legally inoperative the arbitration panel’s August 23, 2017 award, particularly with respect to its modification of the balance owed to the defendant for the cabinetry work. In other words, we conclude that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s request for an order directing the plaintiffs to pay the defendant an additional $21,463 for cabinetry work.[3] For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court, and remand the matter with direction to grant the application to confirm the February 4, 2017 award, but to deny the remainder of the relief requested in the application.

         The record reveals the following facts, as found by the arbitration panel or as undisputed in the record.[4] [191 Conn.App. 148] The plaintiffs

Page 1147

hired the defendant to renovate and remodel their shoreline home in Darien, which had suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. The project included raising the home above the existing foundation and redesigning and strengthening the foundation to comply with new regulations. The relationship between the parties, however, soon deteriorated.[5] The plaintiffs became dissatisfied with many aspects of the project, including the cost, quality, and progress of the renovations. The defendant eventually withdrew from the project after it was halfway completed.

         The plaintiffs commenced a civil action against the defendant in January, 2014. In their operative complaint, the plaintiffs alleged causes of action sounding in breach of contract, a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., fraud, conversion, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and negligence. The plaintiffs also sought to pierce the corporate veil between the ...


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