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Sewer Easement Dispute

Residential Property Owner, Hartford West End

Our clients were sued for breach of warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation after they sold their residence to the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that our clients concealed the existence of a brick sewer pipe beneath the 1920s house to entice the plaintiff to purchase it. Although a sewer easement was recorded in 1924, and revised in 1999, the attorneys involved in the transaction failed to include reference to the easement in the warranty deed from our clients conveying title to the plaintiff. After being sued by the plaintiff, our clients, in turn, sued the attorney who represented them during the sale for legal malpractice because he omitted reference to the easement.

After a seven day bench trial on the issue of liability, Hon. Robert Satter, J. issued a decision holding that even though the plaintiff’s title search revealed the existence of the easement before she purchased the property, she could nonetheless recover on her breach of warranty claim. However, the court found in favor of our clients on the fraud and negligence counts because the plaintiff was unable to establish that she relied on our clients’ actions. Thus, the plaintiff could only recover damages resulting from the breach of warranty.

Additionally, after considering the testimony of experts on both sides, the court determined that our clients proved that their attorney committed malpractice when he failed to include a reference to the easement in the warranty deed. The court held that our clients were entitled to recover from their attorney whatever the plaintiff recovered against them, plus attorney’s fees and expenses from defending the suit. Thus, our clients were effectively indemnified for the damages the plaintiff might recover, and our clients would be reimbursed their legal defense costs. Based on this holding, the parties then reached a settlement without requiring a hearing on damages.  Canino v. Wood, et al., HHD-CV-06-5002954-S

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