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If You Can’t Prove Breach of Contract You Can’t Prove CUTPA

So says the court in a recently decided case, Solairaj v. Mannarino Builders, Inc., AC 37988 Court of Appeals of Connecticut (September 6, 2016). The long and short of the case, which was on appeal because the plaintiffs disputed the trial judge’s factual findings, was that since the plaintiffs could not prove the builder had breached the construction contract, they could also not show a CUTPA violation.

The plaintiffs contracted to purchase a new home built by defendant. During construction they became concerned about a noisy floor in one room, and water in the basement. They demanded several remedial measures or they would not purchase the home. The builder refused, finished the house and obtained a certificate of occupancy, then sold the house to a third party and the plaintiffs sued.

The court found that the demands for warranties and other remedial measures went beyond the scope of the contract. Accordingly, the plaintiffs were the ones who breached the contract, and not the defendant. Uh, oh! because they could not prove the builder breached the underlying contract, they could also not prove a CUTPA claim.

Here is the takeaway: If you are going to sue someone for breach of contract make sure they, and not you, breached the contract!

If you are involved in this type of dispute, get your lawyer involved early.