2020 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 42 - Business, Selling, Trading and Collection Practices
Chapter 735a - Unfair Trade Practices
Section 42-110g - Action for damages. Class actions. Costs and fees. Equitable relief. Jury trial.

Universal Citation: CT Gen Stat § 42-110g (2020)

(a) Any person who suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment of a method, act or practice prohibited by section 42-110b, may bring an action in the judicial district in which the plaintiff or defendant resides or has his principal place of business or is doing business, to recover actual damages. Proof of public interest or public injury shall not be required in any action brought under this section. The court may, in its discretion, award punitive damages and may provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper.

(b) Persons entitled to bring an action under subsection (a) of this section may, pursuant to rules established by the judges of the Superior Court, bring a class action on behalf of themselves and other persons similarly situated who are residents of this state or injured in this state to recover damages.

(c) Upon commencement of any action brought under subsection (a) of this section, the plaintiff shall mail a copy of the complaint to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Consumer Protection and, upon entry of any judgment or decree in the action, shall mail a copy of such judgment or decree to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Consumer Protection.

(d) In any action brought by a person under this section, the court may award, to the plaintiff, in addition to the relief provided in this section, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees based on the work reasonably performed by an attorney and not on the amount of recovery. In a class action in which there is no monetary recovery, but other relief is granted on behalf of a class, the court may award, to the plaintiff, in addition to other relief provided in this section, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. In any action brought under this section, the court may, in its discretion, order, in addition to damages or in lieu of damages, injunctive or other equitable relief.

(e) Any final order issued by the Department of Consumer Protection and any permanent injunction, final judgment or final order of the court made under section 42-110d, 42-110m, 42-110o or 42-110p shall be prima facie evidence in an action brought under this section that the respondent or defendant used or employed a method, act or practice prohibited by section 42-110b, provided this section shall not apply to consent orders or judgments entered before any testimony has been taken.

(f) An action under this section may not be brought more than three years after the occurrence of a violation of this chapter.

(g) In any action brought by a person under this section there shall be a right to a jury trial except with respect to the award of punitive damages under subsection (a) of this section or the award of costs, reasonable attorneys' fees and injunctive or other equitable relief under subsection (d) of this section.

(P.A. 73-615, S. 7, 16; P.A. 74-183, S. 174, 291; P.A. 75-618, S. 5, 11; P.A. 76-303, S. 3, 4; P.A. 78-280, S. 2, 127; 78-346, S. 2; P.A. 79-210, S. 1; P.A. 84-468, S. 2, 10; P.A. 95-123, S. 1, 3; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(c), (d); P.A. 04-169, S. 17; 04-189, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 74-183 deleted reference to bringing action in circuit court in Subsec. (a); P.A. 75-618 rephrased Subsec. (a), rephrased Subsec. (d) re class actions, replacing proviso which had stated that in class action where there is monetary recovery on behalf of class attorney fees are to be awarded out of the recovery, required that action be brought within three, rather than two, years in Subsec. (f) and deleted Subsec. (g) re notice to supplier as requirement for bringing action; P.A. 76-303 specified that costs and attorney fees may be awarded the plaintiff where previously award could be made “to either party”; P.A. 78-280 replaced “county” with “judicial district” in Subsec. (a); P.A. 78-346 specified applicability of provisions to person who “rents or leases property”; P.A. 79-210 rephrased provision re applicability in Subsec. (a) and substituted “plaintiff or defendant” for “seller or lessor”, required that plaintiff rather than clerk of court mail copy of complaint in Subsec. (c), added “in lieu of damages” in Subsec. (d) and added reference to Secs. 42-110m, 42-110o and 42-110p and “defendant” in Subsec. (e); P.A. 84-468 provided that no proof of public interest or injury is required in an action brought under this section and that such action be brought pursuant to rules established by the judges of the superior court rather than pursuant to Sec. 42-110h; P.A. 95-123 amended Subsec. (c) to require the plaintiff to mail a copy of the complaint and any judgment or decree to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection and added Subsec. (g) re a right to a jury trial, effective October 1, 1995, and applicable to all actions pending on said date except actions that were assigned for trial prior to said date; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 and P.A. 04-169 replaced Commissioner and Department of Consumer Protection with Commissioner and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004.

Cited. 186 C. 507; 190 C. 528. Plaintiffs have burden of proving actual damages. 191 C. 484. Cited. 192 C. 558; 200 C. 172; 203 C. 342; Id., 475; Id., 616; 204 C. 17; 209 C. 579; 219 C. 644; 221 C. 674; 223 C. 80; 224 C. 231; 225 C. 705; 228 C. 574; 229 C. 842; 230 C. 148; Id., 486; 232 C. 480; Id., 527; 235 C. 1; 238 C. 216; Id., 293; 241 C. 278; Id., 630. Section permits recovery of actual damages, attorney's fees and punitive damages for violations of CUTPA. 245 C. 1. Pursuant to Connecticut Practice Book, unresolved issue of attorney's fees does not prevent a judgment on the merits from being final and immediately appealable. Id., 495. Professional malpractice does not give rise to a cause of action under CUTPA. 247 C. 48. Section can be reasonably reconciled with provisions of Sec. 52-212a. 249 C. 94. Plaintiff who purchased computer with preinstalled software from a retailer cannot recover from software manufacturer because plaintiff's claimed injuries are too indirect and remote from the manufacturer's allegedly anticompetitive conduct. 260 C. 59. The predominance requirement was satisfied and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting motion for class certification. 287 C. 208. Mobile home owners' association not required to exhaust administrative remedies prior to seeking judicial relief. 310 C. 797. Consumer protection statutes such as CUTPA are a long established mechanism for regulating the marketing and advertising schemes of firearms vendors and as such qualifies as a predicate statute exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 USC 7901 to 7903, inclusive. 331 C. 53.

Cited. 4 CA 137; 13 CA 230; 15 CA 150; 23 CA 227; Id., 585; 24 CA 124; judgment reversed, see 221 C. 674; 31 CA 634. Trial court lacked power to award prejudgment interest on punitive damages. 32 CA 133. Cited. 39 CA 32; 41 CA 437; 42 CA 124; Id., 599; Id., 712. A party must establish that the conduct constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice and must present evidence providing court with basis for a reasonable estimate of the damages suffered; once a violation of CUTPA has been established, evidence that defendant has acted with reckless indifference to plaintiff's rights or has committed an intentional and wanton violation of those rights is a necessary prerequisite to award of punitive damages; such an award is discretionary and the exercise of such discretion will not ordinarily be interfered with on appeal unless the abuse is manifest or injustice appears to have been done; with respect to CUTPA, clear and convincing evidence is not the appropriate standard of proof whenever claims of tortious conduct require proof of willful, wrongful or unlawful acts; the ordinary preponderance of the evidence standard is appropriate. 99 CA 719. Court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney's fees under CUTPA, including fees for work done on post-trial motions. 121 CA 105. By not objecting to plaintiff's submission of a statement of attorney's fees or the content of that statement, defendant acquiesced in that request and will not be heard to complain about that request on appeal. 130 CA 286. Trial court abused its discretion where it drastically reduced from any conceivable lodestar amount, calculated by multiplying number of hours reasonably expended on litigation times a reasonable hourly rate, award of attorney's fees by 95 per cent, absent any evidence that attorney's fees were unreasonable. 141 CA 299.

Cited. 35 CS 1; 36 CS 183; 39 CS 107; 40 CS 560; 41 CS 130; Id., 484; 42 CS 198; Id., 514; 44 CS 569. In exercising its discretion under CUTPA, a court may include as part of attorney fee award those expenses that are associated with non-CUTPA or unsuccessful claims when all of those claims are related, meaning that they are premised on essentially the same transactions or their facts are inextricably connected or intertwined. 52 CS 363; judgment affirmed, see 137 CA 578.

Subsec. (a):

Subsec. does not require plaintiff to provide a specific amount of actual damages in order to make out a prima facie case of a CUTPA violation; to satisfy “ascertainable loss” requirement, plaintiff need prove only that he has purchased an item partially as a result of an unfair or deceptive practice or act and that the item is different from that for which he bargained. 184 C. 607. Cited. 192 C. 591; Id., 747; 193 C. 208; 228 C. 42; 229 C. 213; Id., 479; 232 C. 666; 238 C. 183; 240 C. 300; 243 C. 1; Id., 17. Defendant's attempted takeover of plaintiff, defendant's employer, was not unethical or in violation of Uniform Trade Secrets Act and did not constitute a violation of CUTPA entitling plaintiff to punitive damages. 282 C. 209. Itemization of loss not required but some evidence of ascertainable loss, via affidavits or other documentary evidence, is necessary to survive summary judgment. 308 C. 706. Subsec. imposes no specific limit on ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages; nontaxable costs may be awarded as punitive damages under Subsec. 310 C. 375. CUTPA permits recovery for personal injuries that result directly from wrongful advertising practices. 331 C. 53. Statute plainly and unambiguously authorizes anyone who has suffered an ascertainable financial loss as a result of an unfair trade practice to bring a CUTPA action and right afforded by section is not limited to only persons who have done business of some sort with a defendant, but common-law principles of remoteness and proximate causation do apply to determine whether a party has standing to bring an action under section. Id.

Cited. 25 CA 56; 33 CA 575. Award of punitive damages in an amount equal to actual damages is not an abuse of discretion. 35 CA 455. Cited. 43 CA 113; Id., 756. Two threshold requirements for a party seeking to recover damages under CUTPA. 51 CA 292. Single act of misconduct is sufficient to support CUTPA claim; proof of an ascertainable loss does not require quantification of the loss that claimant has suffered. 72 CA 342. Subsec. allows recovery only when the party seeking to recover damages establishes that conduct at issue constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice and presents evidence providing court with basis for reasonable estimate of the damages suffered. 99 CA 645. The statements of a party during litigation and a disagreement over the terms of a note do not cause the type of ascertainable loss required by CUTPA. 131 CA 223. CUTPA does not require plaintiff to prove that the ascertainable loss was incurred in this state when plaintiff alleges injury caused by unfair trade practices committed by defendants in this state. Id., 443. Trial court properly concluded that plaintiff suffered ascertainable loss of money because defendant's offer to apply plaintiff's deposit as store credit did not make plaintiff's money freely available to plaintiff. 174 CA 649. The ascertainable loss requirement is a threshold barrier which limits the class of persons who may bring a CUPTA action seeking either actual damages or equitable relief, thus, punitive damages and attorney's fees, which are potential remedies available to a plaintiff once he meets this threshold barrier and prevails on his CUPTA claim, cannot be the basis of demonstrating ascertainable loss; plaintiff's claim of emotional distress does not constitute an ascertainable loss of money or property for purposes of CUPTA. 188 CA 153.

Cited. 40 CS 336; 43 CS 431.

Subsec. (d):

Cited. 202 C. 106; 208 C. 515; 216 C. 200; 219 C. 644; 222 C. 211; 240 C. 654. Legislature did not intend to limit punitive damages under Subsec. to expenses of bringing action, including attorney's fees, less taxable costs. 310 C. 375.

Court rather than jury determines an award of attorneys' fees. 10 CA 22. Cited. Id., 527. Attorneys representing plaintiff class on whose behalf “relief is granted” may, in court's discretion, recover attorneys' fees and costs. 17 CA 421. Cited. 24 CA 514; 41 CA 754. Trial court's award of attorney's fees under CUTPA was improper where award was made without affording parties the opportunity to present evidence and to be heard on issue of reasonable attorney's fees. 49 CA 751. Awarding of attorney's fees under Subsec. discussed. 57 CA 189. Award of attorney's fees pursuant to Subsec. encompasses claims related to prosecution of a CUTPA claim, not only one claim explicitly labeled as a CUTPA claim. 93 CA 727. The award of attorney's fees under CUTPA to defendant was proper because, although section only permits awards to plaintiff, defendant prevailed on his counterclaim and was therefore a counterclaim plaintiff for purposes of section. 112 CA 837.

Cited. 43 CS 91.

Subsec. (f):

Cited. 202 C. 234. Section has no alternative provision for suit within certain time following discovery of violation. 207 C. 204. Calculation of statute of limitations period. 245 C. 1. Statute of limitations set forth in Sec. 52-577d does not apply to plaintiff's CUTPA claim because this section and Sec. 52-577d apply to separate and distinct claims. 323 C. 303.

Cited. 27 CA 59; 33 CA 702. 3-year limitation is jurisdictional. 50 CA 688. Applies to all claims brought under CUTPA without regard to nature of the underlying unfair trade practice that has been alleged. 94 CA 593.

In action to recover damages caused by fire, plaintiffs' claims asserting violation of CUTPA were not time barred by applicable statute of limitations in light of defendant's continuous failure to do what was necessary to install a sprinkler system, obtain a permanent certificate of occupancy and correct construction deficiencies so as to comply with applicable codes, all of which tolled the time limitations of Subsec. 50 CS 28.

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