Connecticut Supreme Court in Hartford. Connecticut Supreme Court in Hartford. (Courtesy photo)

From legal questions regarding visitation with a minor to whether heart and hypertension benefits can pass to a deceased employee’s estate, the Connecticut Supreme Court will wrestle with 19 cases during its first session of the season.

The court’s first of eights terms of the season runs from Sept. 10 through Sept. 20. The court will hear oral arguments in 19 cases during that time frame.

The Connecticut Law Tribune breaks down the more notable cases.

Diane Boisvert et al v. James Gavis

The state’s high court will hear arguments on whether the father of a minor can bar the child’s maternal grandparents and aunt from having visitation privileges. The child’s mother is deceased and the grandparents sought, through the court, visitation rights, which were granted.

According to the Supreme Court, the trial court granted visitation rights to the grandparents because “there was clear and convincing evidence that a parent-like relationship existed between the plaintiffs (grandparents Diane and Thomas Boisvert) and the child and the denial of visitation would cause the child real and significant harm.”

The father did not want the child’s aunt to have visitation rights and is now appealing  the court’s ruling allowing visitation for the grandparents.

Gavis argued that Section 46b-59 of the Connecticut General Statute requires that visitation of a minor child “not override a parent’s decision as to the way the child should be raised.”

Janet Brennan, Executrix of the Estate of Thomas Brennan et al v. City of Waterbury

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether heart and hypertension benefits under Section 7-433c of the Connecticut General Statutes can pass on to a deceased employee’s estate. In this case, Thomas Brennan suffered a heart attack while employed as Waterbury’s fire chief.

Brennan survived the heart attack, and the city was ordered to pay him benefits under the Heart and Hypertension Act. The parties attempted, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a full settlement. In the meantime, the city made two partial payments toward Brennan’s permanent partial disability award. Brennan then died, and his estate was substituted as a claimant.

After hearings, the workers’ compensation trial commissioner found Brennan was entitled to permanent and partial disability benefits for an 80 percent disability of the heart and that the unpaid portion of the award should be paid to his estate.

The city appealed to the Compensation Review Board, claiming the estate is not a legally qualified recipient of the funds, according to the Connecticut General Statutes. The board agreed with the city and reversed the trial commissioner’s ruling. The estate then appealed.

State v. Daniel B.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments by a man, only identified in court papers as Daniel B., that his conviction of attempting to murder his wife should be overturned because “there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction.”

The case revolved around the defendant allegedly asking his friend if he knew of anyone that would murder his wife. That friend, John Evans, said he’d arrange a meeting between Daniel B. and a hit man. Evans went to the police and arranged for Daniel B.—who thought he was meeting with a hit man— to meet with a police officer.

Shortly after Daniel B. met with the police officer, he was arrested. Daniel B. appealed his conviction in court, claiming there was not enough evidence to support his conviction because the state failed to prove his conduct “constituted a substantial step in the course of conduct intended to culminate in a murder.”

The Connecticut Appellate Court disagreed and affirmed the conviction of Daniel B. In its ruling, the Appellate Court reasoned that, pursuant to the state’s General Statute 53a-49, the determination of what conduct constitutes a substantial step “depends on what a defendant has already done, rather than on what remains to be done.” The Appellate Court noted that Daniel B. had indicated he wanted his wife dead, agreed to hire who he thought was a hit man to kill her, agreed to a price and provided descriptive information of his wife. His wife was not harmed. Daniel B. appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take the case.

Joshua Clark et al v. Middlesex Corporation et al.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether a deceased worker’s child is eligible for survivor’s benefits when the child was conceived after the date of the worker’s injury.

The case stems around Joshua Clark, who was seriously injured on the job while working for Middlesex Corp. He died about 14 months later. At the time of his death, Clark’s then-girlfriend, Courtney Clark, was pregnant with his son. The boy was born several months after Clark died.

Courtney Clark sought workers’ compensation survivor’s benefits on behalf of herself and her son, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes 31-306. The workers’ compensation trial commissioner ruled that. while Clark was entitled to survivor’s benefit, her child was not, because the child had not been born when the injury occurred.

Clark appealed to the Compensation Review Board, which agreed with the workers’ compensation trial commissioner. Clark then appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which agreed to take the case. The high court will decide whether a child conceived after a worker’s injury and born after that person’s death is eligible for survivor’s benefits.