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Traylor v. State

Supreme Court of Connecticut

August 27, 2019

Sylvester TRAYLOR
STATE of Connecticut et al.

         Argued December 13, 2018

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

Page 468

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 469

          Sylvester Traylor, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

         Jane R. Rosenberg, former solicitor general, with whom, on the brief, was George Jepsen, former attorney general, for the appellees (named defendant et al.).

         William L. Stevens, for the appellees (defendant Advanced Telemessaging, LLC, et al.)

         Donald E. Leone, Jr., with whom, on the brief, was Anthony D. Sutton, for the appellees (defendant Bassam Awwa et al.)

         Robinson, C. J., and Palmer, Kahn, Ecker and Stevens, Js.


         STEVENS, J.

         [332 Conn. 791] This appeal arises from the most recent in a series of civil actions that the plaintiff, Sylvester Traylor, has brought in state and federal court relating to the suicide of his wife, Roberta Mae Traylor (Roberta). The plaintiff, who is self-represented, brought the present case against the defendants, who are (1) the state of Connecticut, numerous current and former Superior

Page 470

Court judges,[1] and the Appellate Court (state defendants); (2) Roberta’s treating psychiatrist, Bassam Awwa, and his employer, Connecticut Behavioral Health Associates, P.C. (Awwa defendants); and (3) Robert Knowles and Neil Knowles, and their business, Advanced Telemessaging (Knowles defendants). The plaintiff now appeals[2] from the judgment of the trial court, Moll, J. ,[3] rendered in accordance with its granting of the defendants’ motions to dismiss and for summary judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that General Statutes § 52-190a,[4] which requires a plaintiff to [332 Conn. 792] append a good faith certificate and supporting opinion letter to the complaint in cases of medical negligence, is unconstitutional. Although the plaintiff fully briefed his attack on the constitutionality of § 52-190a, we cannot reach the merits of that claim because of his failure to challenge the trial court’s threshold conclusions that his claims against all of the defendants are barred by, inter alia, the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

          The record reveals the following facts relevant to the plaintiff’s claim on appeal,[5] as pleaded in his complaint,[6]

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[332 Conn. 793] and the complex procedural history of this case. Beginning in 2002, Awwa and his employer, Connecticut Behavioral Health Associates, P.C., provided psychiatric treatment to Roberta. In 2002, the plaintiff attended a treatment session with Roberta, at which time Awwa became aware of her suicidal thoughts. In early 2004, Awwa prescribed medication for Roberta to treat her major depressive disorder, despite the existence of manufacturers’ warnings that (1) the medications should not be prescribed to anyone with suicidal thoughts, (2) "the possibility of a suicide attempt is inherent in depression and may persist until [a] significant remission occurs," and (3) "[c]lose supervision of high risk patients should accompany initial drug therapy." Awwa changed Roberta’s medication on several occasions during the period of time leading up to March 1, 2004. The plaintiff contacted the Awwa defendants on nine different occasions to inform them that Roberta was having adverse reactions to the medications that Awwa had prescribed. Roberta also sent Awwa a letter dated December 23, 2003, to that effect. Awwa did not return the plaintiff’s telephone calls or otherwise indicate that he appreciated the danger of the situation. On March 1, 2004, Roberta tragically committed suicide.

         On June 2, 2006, the plaintiff, acting as a self-represented party, filed a medical malpractice action in New [332 Conn. 794] London Superior Court against the Awwa defendants in his own name and as administrator of Roberta’s estate, claiming wrongful death, medical malpractice, loss of chance, and loss of consortium. See Traylor v. Awwam, Superior Court, judicial district of New London, Docket No. CV-06-5001159-S (2006 action). At the time the plaintiff filed the complaint, he had not attached the certificate of good faith and written opinion of a similar health care provider, which are required by § 52-190a. On July 27, 2006, the Awwa defendants moved to dismiss the 2006 action for lack of personal jurisdiction; the trial court, Hon. D. Michael Hurley, judge trial referee, denied that motion ...

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