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Appellate Lawyers in Connecticut

Dedicated Legal Counsel You Can Trust

For over 30 years, Kathryn Calibey has headed the appellate practice at RisCassi & Davis, P.C. In addition to handling our own appeals, Attorney Calibey has often written amicus briefs on behalf of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, on issues of widespread concern to the plaintiff’s bar.

We have briefed and argued Appeals to the Connecticut Supreme Court (the highest state court of appeals), the Connecticut Appellate Court (the intermediate state court of appeals), and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the appellate court for Connecticut federal cases).

The outcome of an appeal can often depend upon the extent to which issues have been preserved in the trial court. Thus, where feasible, trial counsel may wish to consult appellate counsel well before the appeal is actually filed. In some cases, of course, this may not be feasible, and we can then begin our involvement with the commencement of the appeal.

Call our Connecticut appeals attorneys at (860) 245-2412 today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Facts About Attorney Calibey

Kathy Calibey has been selected by Best Lawyers in America in the field of Appellate Practice since 2012 and received the Martindale-Hubbell Top Rate Lawyer-Appellate Award in 2015. Kathy has served as co-chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Appellate Section and as a faculty member of the Connecticut Appellate Advocacy Institute. She was appointed in 2013 by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court as a member of Judicial Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.

Appeal Cases Tried by Other Attorneys

Because of the procedural complexities of Connecticut appellate practice, we find that many experienced trial lawyers prefer to bring in experienced appellate counsel to bring or defend an appeal. RisCassi & Davis has successfully taken on appeals in personal injury cases for other attorneys for over 30 years.

We are available to both write the brief and argue the appeal. We are also willing to work alongside trial counsel who wish to remain involved during the appeal. We welcome inquiries from any trial counsel seeking assistance with an appeal, whether for the appellant or the appellee.

**Please note that because of the nature of our own trial practice, we generally do not represent defendants or defendant insurance carriers in personal injury cases, whether at trial or on appeal.

Appeals Successfully Argued by Kathryn Calibey of RisCassi & Davis, P.C.

In the following paragraphs, we provide brief summaries of some appeals successfully argued by Kathryn Calibey of RisCassi & Davis, to give an illustration of the breadth of her appellate arguments and brief-writing. She has also successfully resolved other appeals before argument, sometimes through pre-argument settlement conferences or mediations arranged by the court.

Of course, each case is unique. A successful result in one appeal affords no guarantee of success in another. Attorneys or others finding this page while researching legal issues on the Internet should not rely on these short case summaries but should instead review the full decisions in the cases cited.

O’Connor v. O’Connor, 201 Conn. 632 (1986). This case arose out of a one-vehicle accident, which occurred in Quebec, Canada. A lawsuit was issued on behalf of the passenger in Connecticut Superior Court. The trial court struck the plaintiff’s complaint based upon Connecticut’s adherence to the conflicts of law doctrine known as lex loci delicti. The lex loci doctrine required that the law of the place where the wrong occurred governs the action. The case was appealed to the Appellate Court and eventually to the Supreme Court where Attorney Calibey convinced the Court to abandon the strict application of the lex loci doctrine in tort cases. As a result of O’Connor v. O’Connor, Connecticut courts, now employ an interest analysis approach to tort conflict of law issues.

Seymour v. Carcia, 221 Conn. 473 (1992). Ms. Seymour was injured when a driver, after consuming 12 beers, negligently attempted to make a left turn in front of the vehicle she was riding in. The jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiff and awarded both compensatory and punitive damages. On appeal, the Appellate Court rejected the defendant’s insufficiency of evidence claims and held that a punitive damage claim based upon the reckless indifference to the rights of others may be inferred from the combined acts of voluntary intoxication and operating a motor vehicle.

Seymour v. Carcia, 24 Conn.App. 446 (1991). As argued by Attorney Calibey, the Appellate Court also held that proof of future medical expenses does not require expert testimony indicating the specific nature, frequency, and cost of future treatment. The case was then briefed and argued upon certification to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also examined the issue of what degree of evidence is required to establish future economic loss and upheld the Appellate Court ruling. This decision, which set forth the guidelines of establishing future economic loss, was chosen as the subject of an ALR annotation. See 26 ALR 5th 401.

Mauro v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, 31 Conn.App. 584 (1993). This case arose from the treatment received by Mr. Mauro subsequent to his fall from a second floor porch onto concrete below. Prior to trial, plaintiff settled with two of the three defendants. The jury returned a verdict in plaintiff’s favor. The most significant issue raised on appeal involved the issue of whether the trial court erred in failing to reduce the jury verdict by the pretrial settlement amount. The Appellate Court agreed with the plaintiff, that the trial court properly construed Connecticut General Statute §52-216a as permitting the verdict to be reduced by pretrial settlement amounts only when, as a matter of law, those amounts plus the verdict would produce an excessive amount of damages.

Bilodeau v. Bristol, 38 Conn.App. 447 (1995). A cause of action was brought under the legal doctrine of nuisance against the City of Bristol on behalf of Cheri Bilodeau for injuries she sustained when a tree branch fell upon her car. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, but the trial court directed a verdict in favor of the defendant on the basis of an apparent inconsistency between one of the jury’s answers to the submitted interrogatories and the plaintiff’s verdict. On appeal, the Appellate Court found that the trial court improperly directed to jury to find for the defendant. Instead, the court should have either invalidated the entire verdict proceedings or returned the jury for further deliberations after a recharge as to the law. The court’s actions were reversed and the plaintiff was granted a new trial.

Stevens v. Aetna Life & Casualty Co., 223 Conn. 460 (1995). This uninsured motorist case involved numerous issues involving contract and constitutional law. The constitutional issue involved the constitutionality of Public Act 93-77 (subsequently codified as C.G.S. §38a-336) which changed the time period which insurance companies can limit suits or claims from two to three years. The issue argued before the Supreme Court was whether retroactive application of the Act violated the U.S. Constitution Contract and Due Process clauses. Additionally, this case involved interpretation of the phrase “final judgment” as contained with the Act. The question raised was whether “final judgment” referred to the judgment of the trial court or judgment after appeal. This issue arose because the Act was enacted while Stevens was on appeal, but after the trial court had rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendant. As Attorney Calibey argued, the Supreme Court upheld Public Act 93-77 as constitutional and interpreted the phrase “final judgment” as meaning judgment after appeal. The trial court’s ruling against the plaintiff was reversed and the case was remanded for trial.

Edwards, Executor v. Tardif, 240 Conn. 610 (1997). This medical malpractice action was brought for damages resulting from the suicide of a patient prescribed a large dose of anti-depressants over the phone by a covering physician who did not examine her or check her medical records. A plaintiff’s verdict was rendered against one of the defendant physicians who then appealed claiming that the suicide was an act that broke the chain of causation. The Connecticut appellate courts had not previously examined the issue of whether a patient’s suicide, as a matter of law, constitutes a superceding cause, which precludes liability on the part of a negligent physician. The case was transferred to the Supreme Court, which held that liability will be imposed upon a physician for a patient’s suicide when it is reasonably foreseeable that suicide will result from the physician’s breach of the standard of care. The judgment in plaintiff’s favor was affirmed.

Washington v. Christie, 58 Conn.App. 96 (2000). This case involved a medical malpractice action against the defendant alleging that he improperly excised a cervical lymph node for biopsy, which resulted in a nerve injury. After a defendant verdict, the plaintiff appealed asserting improper preclusion of evidence by the trial court. The Appellate Court agreed and held that the trial court improperly precluded a portion of the patient’s expert’s testimony regarding the defendant’s alleged deviation from the standard of care. The case was remanded for a new trial.

Ipacs v. Cranford, 65 Conn.App. 441 (2001). Plaintiff sought to recover for injuries suffered when, while riding her bicycle, she was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and the defendant appealed. The Appellate Court upheld the jury verdict finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict and that the trial court properly instructed the jury on the applicable law regarding bicyclists and motor vehicles operating upon the highway.

McLaughlin v. Smoron, 62 Conn.App. 367 (2001). This case arose when plaintiff’s vehicle collided with a bull, owned by the defendants, who had wandered off of the defendant’s property onto the highway. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered a number of serious injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, which rendered him disabled. The defendants, a brother and sister, failed to appear in the tort action. A default was entered against them and after a hearing, damages were awarded to the plaintiff. Years after the judgment the defendants moved to reopen claiming that their failure to appear was due to their mental incapacity. The trial court, after a hearing, denied the motion to reopen finding that the defendant’s did not have reasonable grounds for not appearing in the underlying action. The defendants appealed. The Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s ruling and affirmed plaintiff’s judgment.

Ormsby v. Frankel, Commissioner of Transportation, 54 Conn.App. 98 (1999), affm’d, 255 Conn. 670 (2001). Plaintiff brought an action against the defendant Commissioner based upon his breach of statutory duty to keep the highway upon which the injury occurred reasonably safe. Ms. Ormsby was injured when her vehicle slid on ice, which, she alleged, the defendant had prior notice of and a reasonable time to repair. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her damages. The case was successfully argued twice, once before the Appellate Court and then, upon certification, to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decision was significant in two respects. First, the Court ruled that prior icing conditions are relevant to the timing aspect of constructive notice even though they cannot be used to prove the existence of a defective condition. More specifically, the Supreme Court held that evidence of prior icing conditions was relevant to the jury’s determination of what time period constituted a sufficient amount of time for the department to uncover and remedy the particular icy condition that caused the plaintiff’s accident. Second, in an issue of first impression, the Court determined what was the appropriate standard by which a trial court should determine the admissibility of prior accident evidence offered to prove constructive notice of a defective condition. The Supreme Court held that prior accident evidence need not be “essentially the same” as the accident in question, rather a more relaxed standard, requiring only “attenuated similarity” is appropriate. Under this standard, for prior accident evidence to be admissible for notice purposes, the plaintiff needs only to show that the circumstances of the other accidents were “substantially similar” to those under which the plaintiff’s injury occurred.

Scanlon v. Connecticut Light and Power Co., 258 Conn. 436 (2001). Laurence and Louise Scanlon brought this action against CL&P alleging that the defendant’s negligent installation and maintenance of certain electrical equipment allowed stray voltage to harm their dairy herd and destroy their dairy farm business. The plaintiffs’ claimed that the defendant’s negligence destroyed the plaintiffs’ ability to manage and conduct their family farm causing them economic losses. They also asserted negligent infliction of emotional distress. A jury returned a verdict for the plaintiffs and awarded them $601,000 for economic business losses and $300,000 for their emotional distress. The defendant appealed to the Supreme Court, which addressed two primary issues. The first issue involved whether the trial court failed to give the appropriate charge pertaining to the negligent emotional distress claim. The second issue was, if instructional error occurred, was the defendant entitled to a new trial on the jury’s award for economic business loss damages. While the trial court’s instructions for the emotional distress claim were found to be insufficient and required a new trial on that issue, Attorney Calibey convinced the Supreme Court not to extend the general rule pertaining to new trials so as to encompass the separate negligence cause of action for business losses. The Supreme Court affirmed the jury’s award for economic losses suffered by the Scanlons.

Comfort v. Health Net Of The Northeast, Inc. f/k/a Physicians Health Services, Inc., Summary Order (2d Circuit, No. 02-9243) (2003). This case involved a lawsuit filed by the plaintiff against his HMO asserting state-law claims of medical negligence and violations under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The matter was removed to federal court and the federal district court dismissed plaintiff’s action as being completely and substantively preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Attorney Calibey handled the appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit claiming that the district court improperly dismissed plaintiff’s case because the framework governing ERISA preemption had changed through a series of US Supreme Court and other circuit Court of Appeals decisions. After plaintiff’s appellant brief was filed, the Court of Appeals issued a decision in another case, which was on point with the position asserted by the plaintiff. Accordingly, by summary order, the order dismissing plaintiff’s case was vacated and it was remanded back to federal district order for further proceedings.

Levandoski v. Cone, 267 Conn. 667 (2004). This case arose when Officer Levandoski was sent to break-up a noisy youth party. A negligence claim was brought against one of the guests, who fled after being ordered to stop for suspected drug possession. Officer Levandoski suffered serious injuries when, during the pursuit, he fell off a ledge onto rocks below. The jury found in favor Officer Levandoski. The defendant appealed claiming that a police officer’s right to recover against a negligent wrongdoer should be limited. Attorney Calibey, relying upon Connecticut and national case law, as well as public policy, convinced the Supreme Court not to expand the “firefighter’s rule” to limit a police officer’s right to sue a negligent non-landowner defendant. The “firefighter’s rule” was adopted in previous case law, and historically operates to shield a landowner from lawsuits brought by firefighters or police officers injured while on the property due to either a defective condition of the property or by the negligence of the landowner. The Supreme Court refused to expand the rule to protect persons, other than landowners, whose negligence causes injury to police or firefighters. Officer Levandoski’s judgment against the defendant, a negligent fleeing suspect, was upheld.

Please call Kathryn Calibey of RisCassi & Davis, P.C. at (860) 245-2412 or fill out our online contact form if you would like help with your appeal.

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