Roudup Lawsuits and Chemical Exposure

Roundup is a weed killer produced by Monsanto. Roundup contains “glyphosate.” Presently, there are over 13,400 cases against Monsanto. The plaintiffs claim that the use of Roundup caused them to get cancer. Typically, the claim is that the plaintiffs developed blood cancer, Lymphoma, and that the exposure to roundup caused the cancer.

Interestingly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans.

Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency originally indicated in 1985 that glyphosate is a possible carcinogen (cancer causing agent). However, the Environmental Protection Agency is still doing studies to determine if glyphosate is in fact a cancer causing agent. Due to the Trump administrations hostility to regulation, many people are skeptical of the results of any EPA studies.

Recently, a San Francisco jury found in favor of a plaintiff, in the amount of $289 Million, finding Monsanto liable. In another case, a jury found that glyphosate was a substantial factor in causing cancer to a plaintiff.

Because of the amounts involved, we can expect Monsanto to appeal these jury verdicts. The interesting issues with these cases, is whether or not Glyphosate caused the particular type of cancer which the plaintiffs are suffering.

What the plaintiffs are relying on to prove their cases is the study and findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The study was done with mice, not humans. In the case of tobacco and smoking, there were numerous studies over years which proved a link between tobacco and smoking. I could find not find such further studies proving a causal connection between Roundup and lymphoma (which is not to say that the connection does not exist.).

If you think you have been injured because of chemical exposure, please feel free to contact.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Student Loan Tax Refund Offset

If you owe money on a student loan, the Department of Education can request that the IRS transfer the amount of a tax refund, to be used to offset against student loan debt.

An Example

You owe the Department of Education $40,000 in past due student loans. You are owed a refund of $3,200 from the IRS. The Department of Education can send notice to the IRS to demand the tax refund of $3,200 to the Department of Education, to be applied to the past due loan balance of $40,000.

You can appeal the offset to the Department of Education. Typical reasons for an appeal are

a. you repaid the loan

b. you have a repayment agreement in place

c. the borrower is dead

d. the borrower is disabled.

e. you are entitled to a loan discharge as the school which you attended has closed.

Unfortunately, I have seen numerous instances of tax refund offsets, and little success in preventing or stopping or recovering funds from an offset.

However, there are several things which debtors should do to avoid or minimize the tax refund offset. First of all, try to avoid a large tax refund at the end of the year; often, this is done by reducing the amount of withholding from wages by an employer. For taxpayers filing a joint tax return with a spouse, the full refund is subject to offset regardless of which taxpayer has provided the income and amount withheld; therefore, in certain cases, it may be best to file “separately” to minimize the amount subject to offset (although the total tax due may be higher).

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Satisfaction of Judgment

The Connecticut Appellate Court in 2018 had the opportunity to consider when a judgment is satisfied. COYLE CRETE, LLC v. KATHLEEN NEVINS (AC 33332) Gruendel, Beach and Sheldon, Js. Argued April 25—officially released August 21, 2012

A ‘‘court may, on motion and satisfactory proof that a judgment has been paid and satisfied in whole or in part by the act of the parties thereto, order it discharged and canceled of record, to the extent of the payment or satisfaction’’); 47 Am. Jur. 2d 382, Judgments § 804 (2006)

Practice Book § 6-5 provides in relevant part that ‘‘[w]hen the judgment is satisfied in a civil action, the party recovering the judgment shall file written notice thereof with the clerk, who shall endorse judgment satisfied on the judgment file . . . . The judicial authority may, upon motion, make a determination that the judgment has been satisfied.’’

‘‘A satisfaction of judgment is the discharge of an obligation under a judgment by payment of the amount due.’’ 47 Am. Jur. 2d, supra, § 804, p. 382. ‘‘The satisfaction of a judgment refers to compliance with or fulfillment of the mandate thereof. . . . There is realistically no substantial difference between the words paid and satisfied in the judgment context.’’ (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Mazziotti v. Allstate Ins. Co., 240 Conn. 799, 807, 695 A.2d 1010 (1997). A determination that a judgment has been satisfied ‘‘operates to extinguish [the judgment] for all purposes . . . . It is absolutely determinative of the rights of the parties . . . . Further proceedings may not commence upon a judgment which has been satisfied . . . .’’ 50 C.J.S. supra, § 909, p. 225. ‘‘Where a judgment creditor has received actual payment of the judgment or any equivalent therefor . . . but [the judgment creditor] refuses to acknowledge or enter satisfaction, the court having control of the judgment may . . . order satisfaction to be entered officially.’’ (Emphasis added.) Id., § 911, p. 228

In light of the foregoing, we conclude that the following issues are prerequisites to the rendering of a determination by the court that a money judgment has been satisfied. First, the judgment creditor must have obtained a valid money judgment against the judgment debtor. Second, the judgment debtor must have paid the amount of that judgment. In so doing, the court must find that the judgment debtor either made actual payment to the judgment creditor or a payment equivalent thereto.

Several Items to take from this decision

  1. A motion can be filed by a defendant to have the court determine that a judgment is satisfied.
  2. The judgment has to be for “money.”
  3. The judgment debtor has to make the payment.
  4. The court talks about actual payment or an equivalent therefor.

If Attorney Singer can be of assistance, please feel free to contact him at

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Negligent Security

In a negligent security case, a person is injured as a result of a violent act. For example, a person is attacked in a car lot, by an unknown assailant.

An owner or someone in possession of land has a duty of reasonable care, to prevent a foreseeable act of violence against someone on its property.

The injury may happen in a variety of places, including outside a bar, restaurant or commercial business. Similarly, the attack may occur inside a business, or in a parking lot.

In a common situation, a business owner is aware of a history of assaults at or near the business, but fails to use reasonable measures to protect people coming into or leaving the business.

For example, if there was a history of assaults outside of a store, in a parking lot, and the store owner fails to have adequate lighting, the owner may be held responsible for an assault of a person in the parking lot.

Similarly, in an area which has a high incidence of crime, a property owner would normally be expected to have adequate locks on all doors, to prevent intruders from entering a building.

Please feel free to call Attorney Singer to discuss your case.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Lost Promissory Notes in Foreclosure in Connecticut

Connecticut has Statute 42a-3-309 with regard to lost Promissory Notes (the “Instrument”).

  Connecticut General Statutes 42a-3-309 – Enforcement of lost, destroyed or stolen instrument

(a) A person not in possession of an instrument is entitled to enforce the instrument if (i) the person was in possession of the instrument and entitled to enforce it when loss of possession occurred, (ii) the loss of possession was not the result of a transfer by the person or a lawful seizure, and (iii) the person cannot reasonably obtain possession of the instrument because the instrument was destroyed, its whereabouts cannot be determined, or it is in the wrongful possession of an unknown person or a person that cannot be found or is not amenable to service of process.

(b) A person seeking enforcement of an instrument under subsection (a) must prove the terms of the instrument and the person’s right to enforce the instrument. If that proof is made, section 42a-3-308 applies to the case as if the person seeking enforcement had produced the instrument. The court may not enter judgment in favor of the person seeking enforcement unless it finds that the person required to pay the instrument is adequately protected against loss that might occur by reason of a claim by another person to enforce the instrument. Adequate protection may be provided by any reasonable means.

Under Paragraph (b) the person seeking enforcement of the Note needs to prove the terms of the instrument and the person’s right to enforce the instrument. Typically, the person can prove the terms of the Promissory Note by providing a swor Affidavit with a copy of the Promissory Note.

In addition, the party seeking enforcement needs to show that it is entitled to enforce the Note. In many cases, the person will have a Promissory Note endorsed (signed over) to itself, the person enforcing the Note.

With regard to Paragraph (a)(i), the party foreclosing needs to prove that it was in possession of the Note and entitled to enforce the Note when loss of possession occurred. In many cases, the party will be able to have someone testify as to a date in which the Note was allegedly lost. There can be an issue as to when a Note was lost, particularly if there is more than one transfer of the Note, without an endorsement.

Concerning Paragraph (a)(ii), there cannot be a loss due to transfer or lawful seizure. In either of these cases, there is doubt as to whether the party foreclosing is entitled to collect under the terms of the Note.

With regard to Paragraph (a)(iii), the concept is that the party foreclosing has no reasonable way to obtain possession of the Note. The Appellate Court held that if a promissory note is inadvertently surrendered to the maker (primary party responsible to pay), the Promissory Note is treated as a lost instrument. Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. v. Dowling, 4 Conn. App. 376 (1985).

A mortgage assignee is the party to whom a mortgage is transferred. A mortgage assignee can still foreclose, even if it was never in possession of the Promissory Note. Foreclosure is an equitable action, which is different from a legal action on a Note. See New England Savings Bank v. Bedford Realty Corp. 238 Conn. 745 (1996).

If you have any foreclosure questions, please feel free to contact.

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Optometrist Malpractice

Many people go to an optometrist, rather than an opthalmologist, for primary eye care.

There are certain types of cases which are most likely to result in a malpractice claim

  1. retinal detachment
  • 2. glaucoma
  • 3. tumors
  • 4. choroidal neovascularization

5. proliferative diabetic retinopathy

There are certain procedures which can be performed, as the care provided by, or recommended, by an optometrist (to evaluate these conditions) including

Automated visual field

  • Intraocular Pressure Measurements

Fondus Exam

Visual Field Exam

If you believe that you have been injured, because an Optometrist failed to properly provide the care to which you are entitled, please feel free to contact

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Attorney Fee Shifting – Consumer Contract Cases in Connecticut

Connecticut General Statutes Section 42-150bb provides

Whenever any contract or lease entered into on or after October 1, 1979, to which a consumer is a party, provides for the attorney’s fee of the commercial party to be paid by the consumer, an attorney’s fee shall be awarded as a matter of law to the consumer who successfully prosecutes or defends an action or a counterclaim based upon the contract or lease. Except as hereinafter provided, the size of the attorney’s fee awarded to the consumer shall be based as far as practicable upon the terms governing the size of the fee for the commercial party. No attorney’s fee shall be awarded to a commercial party who is represented by its salaried employee. In any action in which the consumer is entitled to an attorney’s fee under this section and in which the commercial party is represented by its salaried employee, the attorney’s fee awarded to the consumer shall be in a reasonable amount regardless of the size of the fee provided in the contract or lease for either party. For the purposes of this section, “commercial party” means the seller, creditor, lessor or assignee of any of them, and “consumer” means the buyer, debtor, lessee or personal representative of any of them. The provisions of this section shall apply only to contracts or leases in which the money, property or service which is the subject of the transaction is primarily for personal, family or household purposes.

The contract must have a provision for attorney’s fees to be awarded to a commercial party. As defined by statute, a commercial party is a “seller, creditor, lessor or assignee of any of them.”

A consumer party is a “buyer, debtor, lessee or personal representative of any of them.”

Furthermore, the statute only applies to contracts or leases in which “the money, property or service which is the subject of the transaction which is primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” There can be situations in which a transaction is for most personal and business purposes, so the issue then becomes when the transaction is primarily for personal purposes.

Common situations in which these occur are debt collection, and household leases.

The provision applies to a situation in which a contract ” provides for the attorney’s fee of the commercial party to be paid by the consumer.” It makes no difference if the commercial party is actually seeking the attorney’s fees.

For an award of attorney’s fees, the consumer must “successfully prosecute(s) or defend(s) an action or a counterclaim based upon the contract or lease.” A withdrawal may be treated like a successful defense, but not in all cases. See Connecticut Housing Finance Authority v. Asdrubal Alfaro 163 Conn. App. 587 (2016). In situations in which a plaintiff files a withdrawal of action , a consumer/defendant should immediately move for attorney’s fees, and claim that a withdrawal should be treated as a successful defense, warranting attorney’s fees.

If you have any questions, concerning a claim for attorney’s fees, in a consumer contract, please feel free to contact

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Judgment Liens in Connecticut

A plaintiff who obtains a court judgment against a defendant will want to place a judgment lien on a defendant’s residence, in the amount of the judgment.

Connecticut has a homestead exemption law, found at Conn. General Statutes 52-352b (t)

The exemption applies to

(t) The homestead of the exemptioner to the value of seventy-five thousand dollars, or, in the case of a money judgment arising out of services provided at a hospital, to the value of one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, provided value shall be determined as the fair market value of the real property less the amount of any statutory or consensual lien which encumbers it.

The exemptioner must be a natural person. The homestead must be “owner occupied real property used as a primary residence.” (Presumably, if the residence is owned by a trust, the trust cannot exempt the real property).

Conn. General Statutes 52-352f provides
A money judgment may be enforced against any property of the judgment debtor unless the property is exempt from application to the satisfaction of the judgment under section 52-352a, 52-352b, 52-352d or 52-361a or any other provision of the general statutes or federal law. The money judgment may be enforced, by execution or by foreclosure of a real property lien, to the amount of the money judgment with (1) all statutory costs and fees as provided by the general statutes, (2) interest as provided by chapter 673 on the money judgment and on the costs incurred in obtaining the judgment, and (3) any attorney’s fees allowed pursuant to section 52-400c.

Therefore, the $75,000 exemption effectively protects $75,000 in equity of a residence, from foreclosure, by a judgment lienor.

“Once a foreclosure sale is confirmed and reduced to proceeds, the homeowner’s exemption rights attach to the proceeds of the sale. ” Spears v. Elder, 156 Conn. App. 778 at 787 (2015). Therefore, if a judgment lien holder would seek to foreclose, a judgment debtor would be entitled to $75,000 proceeds from the foreclosure sale, before the judgment lienholder gets paid.

Example – Foreclosure sale by lien holder

Proceeds – $180,000

1st Mortgage – $120,000

Balance due – $60,000 – paid to judgment debtor – as exempt proceeds of sale

Judgment Lienholder gets nothing

Interestingly, it appears that there is no exemption in a situation in which a judgment debtor sells his or her property at a private sale. Assuming the same situation above, the lienholder would seem to be entitled to payment of the $60,000, rather than the judgment debtor.

Similarly, it is not clear if a judgment lienholder would get paid, before a judgment debtor, in the case of a foreclosure by a mortgagee.

Example, Foreclosure by mortgagee/Bank

1st Mortgage $120,000

Balance due $60,000 – since the statute prevents the lienholder from enforcing the lien, and the lienholder is not “enforcing the lien,” it appears that the lienholder should be able to collect the $60,000 balance.

If you have any questions, concerning judgment lien enforcement in Connecticut, please feel free to contact

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com

Connecticut Home Improvement Guaranty Fund

For people having a problem with a home improvement contractor, you may be able to collect money from the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund.

There are several requirement in order to collect.

  1. The contractor must have been registered with the Department of Consumer Protection
  2. You must obtain a judgment against the contractor. (an exception applies if the contractor files for bankruptcy).
  3. The work must have been done on a residential property – single family, multi-family not more than 6 units, condo, or coop.
  4. You must apply to the fund within 2 years of obtaining a court judgment
  5. You must attempt to collect the judgment – an exception applies for small claims.
  6. The claim must be for work performed, not just materials.

Unfortunately, too many contractors do poor work, and refuse to repair the work after receiving the contractual money.

If you had unsatisfactory work done by a home improvement contractor, please feel free to contact:

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com


Serving New Haven County and all of Connecticut.

Train Collisions and Railroad Accidents in Connecticut

It is not only the weight of a train, it is also a train’s speed, which can result in a tragedy.     Train accidents can cause massive amounts of damage to people and property

A train accident can result from both mechanical failure and human error.  The accident can result in serious injury or death to a train passenger, or someone in the way of a moving train.  

For example, a train conductor may be going too fast to negotiate a turn on the track.   As a result of the excessive speed, the train can derail, resulting to death to many passengers. 

Also, a train Grade Crossing Signal may fail.    In these situations, a driver of a motor vehicle may cross a railroad track at the same time that a train is passing, resulting in a horrible collision.  

Another example is a bus ignoring a stop sign at a train crossing resulting in collision.  

Sadly, there are too many examples of train accidents, which cause unnecessary death and destruction.   Wikipedia has a list of these accidents under “List_of_rail_accidents”     

If you or someone who know has been involved in a train accident, please feel free to contact

Attorney Robert M. Singer

2572 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

203-248-8278

rsingerct@yahoo.com