©2017 Horton, Dowd, Bartschi & Levesque, PC

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Welcome to our Appellate & Ethics Blog!

This blog will sometimes be scholarly, sometimes purely practical, and sometimes just musings by members of the firm on life in the appellate courts and on professional responsibility.

When we comment on cases, we do so with care, but you should always read the cases yourself before using them for any reason.

When one of us muses on matters, it may or may not reflect the innermost thoughts of the others. Feel free to ask.

If we talk about a case in which we represented a party, we’ll let you know it was ours.

We welcome suggestions, to a point, on relevant topics of interest and comments on the thoughts and suggestions we include on this blog.

But most of all, we hope that you learn from and enjoy these entries!

February 12, 2020

            The February 11, 2020 Connecticut Law Journal has an unpleasant surprise for appellate practitioners: an amendment to § 63-4 effective, guess when?, on February 11, 2020.

           The amendment is to the li...

December 24, 2019

            I write to complain about delays in issuing Supreme Court decisions.

            Just this past week, the Court issued slip opinions in two cases argued in January 2019. And that is faster than other recent d...

‘Tis the season for a friendly reminder that, before you or your firm send holiday gifts out this year, you should refer to the Rules of Professional Conduct.  Under the current version of Rule 7.2, as interpreted by the CBA Standing Committee on Professional Ethics in...

December 4, 2019

It's a common appellate refrain that you can't raise new arguments for the first time in your reply brief.  But what counts as a new argument?  For example, suppose you appeal and challenge a trial court ruling, explaining why it was wrong.  Your opponent's brief then...

November 14, 2019

     On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, 331 Conn. 53 (2019).  The headlines in the national pressed were along the lines of “Court lets Sandy Hook families sue gu...

August 22, 2019

This time each year, I review cases from the past year for possible inclusion in the West Annotation of the Superior Court Civil Rules.*  There are often splits of authority amongst trial courts in the application or interpretation of the Practice Book rules.  As I res...

August 20, 2019

Huge doctrinal shifts often have humble beginnings.  And we see them only in hindsight.  A recent opinion, Wilton Campus 1691, LLC v. Wilton, 191 Conn. App. 712 (2019), is likely just a blip on the radar.  But it may signal the start of a deeper change in how our...

August 5, 2019

I'm paraphrasing.  But that was essentially what Judge Christopher Droney of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals told a room full of appellate litigators at our last meeting of the Connecticut Bar Association's Appellate Advocacy Section.  Why?  Because no one will eve...

I concede bias up front:  I am a musical theater nerd.  You’ve been warned.

One of the reasons I love musicals is that they often inject serious social commentary between dance breaks and 11 o’clock numbers.  The practice is time honored.  Show Boat premiered...

July 15, 2019

The Scottsboro Boys is based on an actual rape case in Alabama in 1931 where seven black boys were accused of raping two white girls on an open car on a freight train. The alleged crime occurred on March 25; the boys were arrested that day and arraigned on March 31 on...

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