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Jamalipour v. Fairway's Edge Condominium Association, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

November 5, 2019

ALIREZA JAMALIPOUR
v.
FAIRWAY'S EDGEASSOCIATION, INC., ET AL.

          Argued September 19, 2019

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for, inter alia, the defendants' alleged negligence, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain, where the action was withdrawn as to the defendant Michael Moriarty; thereafter, White & Katzman Property Services was cited in as a defendant; subsequently, the mater was tried to the court, Hon. Joseph M. Shortall, judge trial referee; thereafter, the court granted in part the motion to dismiss filed by the named defendant et al.; subsequently, the court rendered judgment for the plaintiff, from which the named defendant et al. appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Anita M. Varunes, with whom was Christopher S. Young, for the appellants (named defendant et al.).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Keller and Sheldon, Js.

          OPINION

          KELLER, J.

         The plaintiff, Alireza Jamalipour, brought the underlying negligence action against the defendants Fairway's Edge Association, Inc. (association), and White & Katzman Property Services (property man-ager)[1] seeking economic damages that he alleged to have been caused by faulty repairs to a deck attached to his condominium unit.[2] The defendants appeal from the judgment rendered by the trial court in the plaintiff's favor in the amount of $31, 900. The defendants claim that (1) the evidence did not support the court's award of damages and that the award will unjustly enrich the plaintiff[3] and (2) the court erred in failing to consider relevant association bylaws and the Common Interest Ownership Act (act), General Statutes § 47-200 et seq. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         Following a trial to the court on November 30, 2016, and March 29, 2017, the court found in relevant part that, in 2009, the plaintiff purchased a condominium unit in the Fairway's Edge condominium community. In December, 2009, the association, which managed the affairs of the condominium community at that time, hired a contractor[4] to repair or replace decks throughout the community, directed the contractor to perform work on the plaintiff's deck, and notified the plaintiff of the work to be performed. The property manager took over the management of the community before the contractor performed the repairs at issue in 2011.

         The court determined that the repairs made to the plaintiff's deck by the contractor in 2011, under the supervision of the defendants, were deficient in several ways and that the contractor's negligence and the negligence of the defendants in subsequently failing to correct the results of the contractor's work proximately caused damage to the deck and to certain interior spaces of the plaintiff's adjoining residential unit. By the time of trial, the deck and the unit were in a state of disrepair requiring remediation. As against both defendants, the court awarded the plaintiff $31, 900 in damages to undertake necessary repairs. This appeal followed.

         I

         First, the defendants claim that the evidence did not support the court's award of damages and that the court's award will unjustly enrich the plaintiff. Essentially, the defendants argue that the evidence demonstrated that the cost to demolish and replace the deck was far less than $31, 900. We disagree.

         With respect to its damage award, the court stated: ‘‘This includes demolition and replacement of the entire deck, replacement of the ledger board that connects the deck to the house, the services of electricians needed to disconnect electrical service while work on the deck is done and reconnect service when work is completed, connection of a down spout to prevent water spillage and rental of dumpsters. It does not include the replacement of flashing . . . .''

         The defendants acknowledge that we review challenges to the trial court's findings of fact under the clearly erroneous standard of review. ‘‘A finding of fact is clearly erroneous [if] there is no evidence in the record to support it . . . or [if] although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Lussier v. Spinnato, 69 Conn.App. 136, 141, 794 A.2d 1008, cert. denied, 261 Conn. 910, 806 A.2d 49 (2002).

         We have carefully reviewed the evidence presented at trial. The evidence and the rational inferences to be drawn therefrom provide a factual basis for the court's award of damages, and we are not left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. In particular, we observe that the testimony presented by the plaintiff from David Balali, a licensed home improvement contractor who estimated the cost ...


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