Girolametti v. Michael Horton Assoc., 2017 Conn. App. Lexis 228 (June 6, 2017)
A General Contractor brought claims for unpaid added work, via mandatory arbitration, against a building owner who asserted defective work claims in response. The Owner abandoned the arbitration mid-process after a partial presentation of its claims. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the General Contractor, awarding $508,597 in damages, which was affirmed by the Superior Court and Appellate Court. The Owner then attempted to bring the same defective work claims in state court against the General Contractor, its subcontractors, and the Owner’s testing company on the project. The defendants all filed motions for summary judgment asserting the defenses of collateral estoppel and res judicata.
The trial court granted the General Contractor’s motion but denied the subcontractors’ and testing company’s motions on the basis that both collateral estoppel and res judicata required privity between those entities and the General Contractor.
The Court of Appeals discussed each motion in detail. As to the Owner’s claims against the General Contractor, the Court found that the Owner’s complaint involved the same claims of design and installation defects as had been raised or could have been raised in the arbitration. The Owner had a full and fair opportunity to present his claims against the General Contractor in arbitration. Thus, the trial court’s grant of summary judgment was affirmed on the basis of res judicata. Continue reading