Monday, November 11, 2013

Right v. Breen case brief

Right v. Breen case brief summary
890 A.2d 1287 (2006)

Plaintiff injured party sued defendant motorist in the trial court for negligence resulting in an automobile accident. After a jury awarded no damages, the trial court set aside the verdict and granted a motion for additur. The Appellate Court (Connecticut) affirmed, and the motorist sought further review.


The trial court awarded the injured party nominal damages and, under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-257, certain costs.


  • The supreme court held the injured party was not entitled to nominal damages based on the motorist's admission of liability. 
  • Prior authority holding the motorist's admission showed the injured party suffered a technical legal injury and was, thus, entitled to at least nominal damages was expressly overruled. 
  • The injured party had to prove all elements of a negligence claim, including causation and actual injury, to recover, so the technical legal injury concept did not apply to a negligence action. 
  • Nominal damages were recoverable when a plaintiff's right was intentionally invaded, but a negligence case required proof of causation and actual damages. 
  • Without proof of the essential elements of duty, breach of that duty, causation, and actual injury, the injured party's negligence claim failed, and he was not entitled to have the issue of damages considered. 
  • Conduct that was merely negligent, without proof of actual injury, was not a significant interference with the public interest such that there was a right to complain of it or be free from it.

The judgment of the lower court was reversed, and the matter was remanded to the trial court with direction to render judgment for the motorist and modify an order of costs accordingly.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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