Raymond Rd.v.Taubman Ctr.

Connecticut Superior Court Judicial District of Waterbury, Complex Litigation Docket at WaterburyMar 5, 2009
2009 Ct. Sup. 4856 (Conn. Super. Ct. 2009)

Nos. X02 UWY-CV-07-5007877-S, X02-UWY-CV-07-5007876-S

March 5, 2009


AMENDED MEMORANDUM OF DECISIONS RE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO STRIKE


DENNIS G. EVELEIGH, Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Raymond Road Associates LLC (hereinafter referred to as "Raymond"), BBS Development LLC (hereinafter referred to as "BBS"), and Blue Back Square LLC (hereinafter referred to as "Blue Back") are the developers and owners of Blue Back Square, a retail, commercial, and residential development in West Hartford Center. In the second suit referenced above the plaintiffs are the Town of West Hartford (hereinafter referred to as the "Town") and the West Hartford Town Council (hereinafter referred to as the "Council").

Defendants The Taubman Company LLC (hereinafter referred to as "Taubman"), West Farms Mall LLC (hereinafter referred to as "West Farms"), West Farm Associates, Victor J. Dowling Jr. (hereinafter referred to as "Dowling"), Taubman Centers, Inc., and The Taubman Realty Group Limited Partnership, are the owners and operators of West Farms Mall (hereinafter referred to as the "Mall"), a regional mall located partly in West Hartford. It is alleged that the defendants engaged in a lengthy campaign to delay and prevent the development of Blue Back Square in West Hartford in order to preserve the Mall's competitive position.

It is alleged that the Defendants paid for and controlled numerous lawsuits designed solely to obstruct or delay the project. It is further alleged that, although nominally brought in the names of individual West Hartford residents, these actions were paid for and controlled by the Defendants. There were four administrative appeals taken from zoning approvals by the Town. Plaintiff BBS was a named defendant in these actions. On November 4, 2004, it is alleged that defendants caused service of a complaint brought by defendant West Farms against each of the plaintiffs. In 2005, another suit was commenced by a West Hartford resident in which all of the plaintiffs herein were named as defendants. On June 23, 2005, Defendants, it is alleged, initiated another suit against the Town, BBS, and Blue Back. On June 26, 2005, another suit was initiated in which BBS was a named defendant. On May 12, 2006, another suit was instituted in which Blue Back was a named defendant. It is further alleged that the defendants attempted to prevent Crate Barrel, the Blue Back Square Project's anchor tenant, from locating a store in Blue Back Square. In total, there were twelve actions initiated against some or all of the plaintiffs relating to Blue Back Square. All of the actions, it is alleged, resulted in either a withdrawal of action filed by the defendants or a Court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendants were unsuccessful in all of the lawsuits.

The plaintiffs have sued all of the Defendants on numerous grounds. The causes of action sound in common-law and statutory vexatious litigation, abuse of process, tortious interference with contractual and business relations, and CUTPA. They claim that the activities of the defendants have damaged them in excess of $30,000,000.00.

The defendants have filed Motions to Strike all of the counts of the plaintiffs' Complaints. The Court heard argument on the matter on February 25, 2009, and reserved decision on the matter. In view of the fact that the motions are essentially the same, the Court has combined the two motions in its Memorandum of Decision. Where differences exist between the two cases the Court will differentiate the two cases in its opinion.

II. DISCUSSION A. Standard of Review

A motion to strike tests the legal sufficiency of the allegations contained in the pleadings. Faulkner v. United Techs Corp., 240 Conn. 576, 580, 693 A.2d 293 (1997). "In determining whether a motion to strike should be granted, the sole question is whether, if the facts alleged are taken to be true, the allegations provide a cause of action or defense." County Fed. Sav. Loan Ass'n v. Eastern, 3 Conn.App. 582, 585, 491 A.2d 402 (1985). "This includes the facts necessarily implied and fairly provable under the allegations." Westport Bank and Trust Co. v. Corcoran, Mallin Aresco, 221 Conn. 490, 495, 605 A.2d 862 (1992). Additionally, the court must interpret the facts alleged in the light most advantageous to the nonmoving party and "construe the complaint in the manner most favorable to sustaining its legal sufficiency." Warner v. Konover, 210 Conn. 150, 152, 553 A.2d 1138 (1989). In doing so, the court must "read the allegations broadly, rather than narrowly." Macomber v. Travelers Property Casualty Corp., 261 Conn. 620, 629, 804 A.2d 180 (2002). "If facts provable in the complaint would support a cause of action, the motion to strike must be denied." Lombard v. Edward J. Peters, Jr., P.C., 252 Conn. 623, 626, 749 A.2d 630 (2000).

B. Vexatious Litigation

Plaintiffs have sued the defendants in both Common-Law (Count I) and Statutory (Count II) Vexatious Litigation. Defendants have moved to strike these counts on numerous grounds.

Connecticut recognizes both statutory and common-law vexatious litigation claims. It has been held that "[t]he elements of common-law or statutory cause of action for vexatious litigation are identical." Norse Systems, Inc. v. Tingley Systems, Inc., 49 Conn.App. 582, 596, 715 A.2d 807 (1998). To establish a common-law claim for vexatious litigation, "it is necessary to prove want of probable cause, malice and a termination of suit in the plaintiffs' favor." Falls Church Group, Ltd. v. Tyler, Cooper Alcorn, LLP, 281 Conn. 84, 94, 912 A.2d 1019 (2007). "A statutory action for vexatious litigation under General Statutes Section 52-568 . . . differs from a common-law action only in that a finding of malice is not an essential element, but will serve as a basis for higher damages." Id.

Defendants argue that both counts should be stricken because some of the plaintiffs were not defendants in all of the cases referenced. There is no question that the counts as alleged, if proven, state a cause of action for both statutory and common-law vexatious litigation. There is also merit to the plaintiffs' claim that the want of probable cause relates to an overall pattern of delay, as alleged, which is reflected in all of the lawsuits on a global basis.

An entire count in a complaint may not be stricken if part of that count states a legally sufficient cause of action. Wachtel v. Rosol, 159 Conn. 496, 499, 271 A.2d 84 (1970). Similarly, courts will deny motions to strike an entire count alleged against multiple defendants if allegations are sufficient as to one of the defendants. Webster v. Pequot Mystic Hotel, LLC, Superior Court, Judicial District of New London at New London, Docket No. 556799, (January 10, 2002, Hurley, J.T.R.) [31 Conn. L. Rptr. 217].

The allegations in Counts I and II are sufficient to state causes of actions in both common-law and statutory vexatious litigation. Defendants' Motion to Strike is denied with regard to the first ground.

Second, defendants claim that Counts I and II should be stricken, because, except for one of the suits involving West Farms, they were not named plaintiffs in any of the lawsuits in question. Under both the common law and Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-568, there is no question that plaintiffs can bring vexatious litigation claims against non-parties to the prior suit who supported or contributed to the prosecution of a prior suit. As stated in Lyons v. Heid, Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, Docket No. CV 94 031 11 75S (March 22, 1995, Maiocco, J.), "Accordingly, if the defendant supported the lawsuit he would be deemed to prosecute a civil action." Likewise, in Spear v. Summit Med. Ctr., Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford-New Britain at Hartford, Docket No. 52 59 39 (April 24, 1994, Sheldon, J.), "A person prosecutes a civil action when he initiates it or contributes materially to its prosecution." Further, the vexatious litigation statute expressly contemplates non-parties and provides for a cause of action against such persons. C.G.S. 52-568 reads as follows:

Any person who commences and prosecutes any Civil action or complaint against another, in his own name or in the name of others . . . (1) without probable cause, shall pay such other person double damages, or (2) without probable cause, and with a malicious intent unjustly to vex and trouble such other person, shall pay him treble damages.

As noted in Midstate Electronics, Co. v. Nova Electronics, Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven at New Haven, Docket No. CV 92-0334782 (November 12, 1993, Fracasse, J.) [10 Conn. L. Rptr. 349], "the plain language of the statute . . . does not require a defendant to be named as a plaintiff in the original action." Judge Corradino provided an excellent explanation of the rationale behind extending liability for vexatious litigation beyond mere parties in TMK Assocs. v. Landmark Dev., Superior Court, Judicial District of New London at New London, Docket No. 562077 (August 21, 2003, Corradino, J.) [35 Conn. L. Rptr. 387], when he stated that "any other reading would allow people to bring suits by proxy and avoid the heavier statutory penalties deemed necessary by the legislature if the [statute's] substantive requirements were otherwise to be met."

Plaintiffs have alleged that all defendants financed and controlled the underlying actions. They have further alleged that while the actions may have nominally been brought in the names of taxpayers of the Town, the defendants actually paid for and controlled the lawsuits. The allegations are sufficient for both the common-law and statutory cause of action of vexatious litigation.

Third, defendants contend that the plaintiffs lack standing because they were not parties to all of the prior lawsuits. All of the plaintiffs were parties to at least one of the prior lawsuits. Many of them were parties to several of the prior lawsuits. Plaintiffs allege that they each had a specific and legal interest in the successful completion of Blue Back Square which was threatened by the vexatious legal proceedings initiated by the defendants, and that these interests have been injuriously affected. Such allegations, if proven, establish that the plaintiffs were aggrieved by the allegedly vexatious lawsuits filed by the defendants. These allegations are sufficient pursuant to the dictates of Wesley v. Schaller Subaru, Inc., 277 Conn. 526, 538, 893 A.2d 389 (2006). Plaintiffs, therefore, have standing to bring claims based on all actions, even those actions in which they were not parties. Defendant's reliance upon the case of Bernhard-Thomas Bldg. Sys., LLC v. Dunican, 286 Conn. 548, 944 A.2d 329 (2008) is misplaced. The issue of non-parties in a vexatious litigation sense was not discussed. The issue in Bernhard was whether a prejudgment remedy constituted the prosecution of a civil action. The Court made a general statement about vexatious litigation permitting a party who had been wrongfully sued to recover damages. However, there is no indication in that case that the Court intended to preclude plaintiffs who were not parties to prior actions from bringing vexatious litigation claims based on those claims. Even though the plaintiffs in this case may not have been named in every case involving the defendants, the allegations are that they were parties to those actions in a practical sense. Plaintiffs have alleged that they participated in the underlying actions in which they were not actually named as parties and that they incurred attorneys fees in defending the actions and costs from the delays effected by them. The allegations contained in the complaint are sufficient to establish the plaintiffs' standing.

Fourth, defendants contend that the plaintiffs have not alleged sufficient facts to establish a lack of probable cause. "Probable cause is the knowledge of facts sufficient to justify a reasonable person in the belief that there are reasonable grounds for prosecuting the action." Vandersluis v. Weil, 176 Conn. 353, 356, 407 A.2d 982 (1978). "Thus, in the context of a vexatious suit action, the defendant lacks probable cause if he lacks a reasonable, good faith belief in the facts alleged and the validity of the claim asserted." DeLaurentis v. New Haven, 220 Conn. 225, 256, 597 A.2d 807 (1991). Plaintiffs allege that "Defendants filed objectively baseless lawsuits and administrative petitions without probable cause, without an objectively reasonable basis in fact or law for their claims and without an objectively reasonable expectation that they ultimately would prevail on the merits." Plaintiffs further make more specific allegations condemning many of the lawsuits. Further, as stated in Economy Petroleum Corp. v. Paulauskas, Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford at Hartford, Docket No. CV00 82 21 16S (August 1, 2003, Sheldon, J.) [35 Conn. L. Rptr. 347], "the unilateral abandonment or withdrawal of a claim or action . . . suggests that the plaintiff lacked probable cause to pursue the claim or action further." The lack of probable cause may be further exacerbated where, as in the instant case, there were twelve legal actions, many of which were ultimately withdrawn. Plaintiffs have also alleged a pattern of conduct relating to the twelve cases. Plaintiffs' allegations are sufficient, if proven, to establish probable cause.

Fifth, defendants claim that the plaintiffs have improperly joined Common-Law and Statutory Vexatious Litigation claims. They base their argument entirely on the 1836 case of Whipple v. Fuller, 11 Conn, 582 (1836) which, indeed, held that such pleading was improper. However, as explained in TMK Assocs. Supra: at 10224-24

For the particular proposition now being discussed, Whipple has not been cited by any appellate court for 177 (sic) years. There is good reason for that — in the late 19th Century, the predecessor to Section 52-97 of the General Statutes was passed, which is embodied in Section 10-21, "Joinder of Causes of Action" of the Practice Book. All manner of actions may now be joined. As concisely stated in Horton Knox, Connecticut Practice (2003 Ed.), alternative and even inconsistent pleadings are "now permitted under Section 10-25 of the Practice Book; absent a showing of prejudice to the opposing parties, there is no general prohibition of inconsistent pleadings (see commentary to Practice Book Section 10-25 at page 412)," "Prejudice is not a factor here — even Whipple recognized that a common-law and statutory vexatious litigation claim are separately viable and modern procedure and the nature of this case do not present insuperable problems that would prejudice either one side or the other if the claims are joined. Also, there can be no claim that "good faith" is at issue since each separate legal theory even under Whipple, as noted, "are good."

The TMK Associates court added that Whipple also "does not conform with present day practice, if we examine types of litigation where the appellate courts have allowed certain types of different claims, common-law and statutory, to be joined in the same suit." Id. at 10225. The court concluded that "our modern rules of practice have, in effect, gone beyond Whipple and our appellate courts have abrogated its operation." Id. at 10226. In view of the changes in our practice since 1836, Whipple is no longer relevant. The Motions to Strike Counts I and II are denied.

C. Abuse of Process

Under Connecticut Law, "an action for abuse of process lies against any person using a legal process against another in an improper manner or to accomplish a purpose for which it was not designed." Mozzochi v. Beck, 204 Conn. 490, 494, 529 A.2D 171 (1987). A party states a claim for abuse of process by alleging "specific misconduct intended to cause specific injury outside of the normal contemplation of private litigation." Id. At 497. Plaintiffs allege that defendants initiated and prosecuted various legal proceedings in an effort to protect themselves from competition by obstructing the development of Blue Back Square, causing retailers to withdraw their commitments to operate at Blue Back Square, and deterring other potential tenants from locating there. Plaintiffs also allege that through these actions, defendants attempted to use the legal process for a purpose for which it was not intended, including the delay of the Project, and have caused substantial injury to the plaintiffs as a result. Contrary to the defendants' position, such allegations are sufficient to establish, if proven, a case for Abuse of Process pursuant to Mozzochi.

D. Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relations

Defendants seek to strike claims for tortious interference with contractual or business relations as to plaintiffs Raymond and BBS on the ground that the Amended Complaint does not sufficiently allege a business relationship between these plaintiffs and Crate Barrel or other unnamed tenants. The Connecticut Supreme Court has stated that "a claim for tortious interference with contractual relations requires the plaintiff to establish (1) the existence of a contractual or beneficial relationship, (2) the defendants' knowledge of that relationship, (3) the defendants' intent to interfere with the relationship, (4) the interference was tortious, and (5) a loss suffered by the plaintiff that was caused by the defendants' tortious conduct." Appleton v. Board of Educ., 254 Conn. 205, 212-13, 757 A.2d 1059 (2000). The Amended Complaint does allege that these "plaintiffs have contractual and beneficial relationships with Crate Barrel and with other intended tenants of Blue Back Square, which relationships were known to defendants." This factual allegation satisfies the first and second elements of a tortious interference claim. As stated in Bernardini v. Lombard, Superior Court, Judicial District of Litchfield at Litchfield, Docket No. CV01 08 62 76S (March 14, 2003, Frazzini, J.) [34 Conn. L. Rptr. 305]. "Our law requires merely that plaintiff plead that a defendant has tortiously interfered with an existing or prospective business relationship." Plaintiffs specifically allege the defendants interfered with plaintiffs' business relationships with intended tenants of Blue Back Square by initiating and prosecuting vexatious legal proceedings and abusing the legal process. Plaintiffs have, therefore, alleged that defendants' interference with their business relationships was tortious. Allegations of vexatious litigation can form the basis for a tortious interference claim if the prior litigation terminated in the plaintiff's favor. Zeller v. Consolini, 235 Conn. 417, 424, 666 A.2d 64 (1995). Furthermore, contrary to the defendants' position, plaintiffs are not required to disclose the identity of third parties with whom they had prospective business relationships in order to state a claim for tortious interference. Vivirito v. Terra Firma, Inc., Superior Court, Judicial District of New London at Norwich, Docket No. 4102776 (August 29, 2006, Hurley, J.).

Plaintiffs also allege tortious conduct by the defendants independent of the vexatious litigation and abuse of process claims. A plaintiff can establish that a defendant's conduct was tortious by showing "that the defendant was guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, intimidation, or molestation . . . or that the defendant acted maliciously." Blake v. Levy, 191 Conn. 257, 263, 464 A.2d 52 (1983). Plaintiffs allege that the defendants interfered with plaintiffs' business relationships by intimidating and using economic coercion to dissuade prospective tenants in Blue Back Square. Plaintiffs allege further that the defendants maliciously interfered with plaintiffs' business relationships in order to obstruct or delay the development of Blue Back Square. In the context of a tortious interference claim, malice is alleged if "the defendant intentionally interfered with its business relations without justification." American Diamond Exchange v. Alpert, 101 Conn.App. 83, 105, 920 A.2d 357 (2007). Thus, plaintiffs sufficiently allege tortious conduct by virtue of defendants' intimidation of prospective tenants and their malicious interference with plaintiffs' business relationships. Plaintiffs have also adequately alleged that defendants' interference resulted in an injury that was "wrongful by some measure beyond the fact of the interference itself." Blake, supra, at 262.

Plaintiffs allege that the defendants attempted to "prevent the competitive threat posed by Blue Back Square by delaying its development until the combined costs of delay and constant litigation caused plaintiffs to withdraw their proposal," and that defendants waged a "campaign to destroy Blue Back Square by imposing on it the burdens of delay and unremitting although meritless litigation." If the allegations against the defendants are proven, defendants are liable for such consequential losses caused by their tortious interference with plaintiffs' business relationships, including delay. Alpert, supra, at 103, n. 12. The Amended Complaint expressly alleges facts supporting plaintiffs' claim for damages. All of the requisite allegations constituting a tortious interference with contractual and business relationships have been made by the plaintiffs in the Amended Complaint. Defendants' Motion to Strike is denied with regard to this Count.

B. Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA)

Defendants contend that plaintiffs Raymond and BBS lack standing to bring a CUTPA claim because the Amended Complaint does not allege that they had a transactional, competitive, or commercial relationship with any of the defendants. They also contend that the Amended Complaint does not allege that Blue Back had such a relationship with defendants West Farms, Taubman or Dowling.

Connecticut General Statutes Section 42-110g(a) provides that "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." Connecticut General Statutes Section 42-110(b)(a) provides that "no person shall engage in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce." Courts "have adopted the criteria set out in the `cigarette rule' by the Federal Trade Commission for determining when [an act or] practice is unfair: (1) Whether the practice, without necessarily having been previously considered unlawful, offends public policy as it has been established by statutes, the common law, or otherwise-[whether], in other words, it is within at least the penumbra of some common law, statutory, or other established concept of unfairness; (2) whether it is immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous; (3) whether it causes substantial injury to consumers (competitors or other businesspersons)." Willow Springs Condo. Association, Inc. v. Seventh BRT Dev. Corp., 245 Conn. 1, 43, 717 A.2d 77 (1998).

The Amended Complaint does allege that plaintiffs and defendants were competitors. The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that "a competitor or other business person can maintain a CUTPA cause of action without showing a consumer injury." Larsen Chelsey Realty Co. v. Larsen, 232 Conn. 480, 496, 656 A.2d 1009 (1995). The goal of protecting competitors and other business people "requires giving protection to direct competitors but also at times to business people who have that type of a commercial relationship to the alleged wrongdoer which is such that the latter's unfair and deceptive acts might deleteriously affect fair competition in a particular market place." Conn. Water Co. v. Town of Thomaston, Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford at Hartford, Docket No. CV94 0535590S (April 24, 1997, Corradino, J.). Defendants concede that Blue Back has a competitive relationship with West Farms, as owner of the Mall. The Amended Complaint alleges that Raymond and BBS were developers of Blue Back Square and therefore had a competitive relationship with the entities affiliated with the Mall who are named as defendants. In addition, the Amended Complaint alleges that the defendants were directly or indirectly involved with the ownership or management of the Mall and therefore had a competitive relationship with Blue Back. Thus, the Amended Complaint sufficiently alleges that plaintiffs were part of the broader class of persons sought to be protected from harm in the competitive marketplace by defendants' alleged unfair trade practices. In the one case cited by the defendants, wherein a homeowner association was held not to have standing to bring a CUTPA counterclaim against a landowner who was not a member of the association, the homeowner association failed to allege that it was a competitor of the plaintiff, that it was involved in any business or commercial activities with the plaintiff, or that it stood in a consumer relationship with the plaintiff. Gilbert v. Beaver Dam Ass'n of Stratford, Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, Docket No. CV00 374905S (July 24, 2001, Rush, J.). By contrast, the Amended Complaint herein alleges that plaintiffs stood in a competitive relationship with the defendants and, therefore, have standing to bring a CUTPA claim.

Several courts have held that CUTPA claims can be predicated on allegations of vexatious litigation and abuse of process. See Olympia Sales, Inc. v. Roberts Enters., Inc., Superior Court, Judicial district of Hartford at Hartford, Docket No. CV05 4017724 (May 2, 2006, Tanzer, J.); Bender Plumbing Supplies, Inc. v. S S Servs., Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven at Meriden, Docket No. CV04 0287111S (December 14, 2004, Tanzer, J.); TCW Realty Fund II v. Pearle Vision, Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford-New Britain Housing Session, Docket No. CVH-4490 HD, HA 1094 (October 29, 1996, Beach, J.); and Shea v. Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk at Stamford, Docket No. CV96 0149647S (July 27, 2000, Tierney, J.) [27 Conn. L. Rptr. 579], aff'd, 64 Conn.App. 624, 781 A.2d 352 (2001). The one case cited by the defendants did not consider a CUTPA claim based on allegations of either vexatious litigation or abuse of process. See NY-Conn. Corp. v. Southbury Diagnostic Imaging Ctr. LLC, Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury at Waterbury, Docket No. CV99 0158613 (October 24, 2000, Weise, J.) [28 Conn. L. Rptr. 521]. In view of the fact that this Court has held that the Amended Complaint contains sufficient allegations to support actions sounding in vexatious litigation and abuse of process, Defendants' Motion to Strike Count V on this ground must be denied.

Plaintiffs' allegations that the defendants tortiously interfered with the plaintiffs' business relationships also establish a proper allegation that defendants engaged in unfair or deceptive trade practices in violation of CUTPA. The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that "it is difficult to conceive of a situation where tortious interference would be found but a CUTPA violation would not. Because the tort standard is more stringent, a plaintiff who alleges both claims is harmed only if the trial court applies the tort standard to the CUTPA claim." Sportsmen's Boating Corp. v. Hensley, 192 Conn. 747, 757, 474 A.2d 780 (1984).

Defendants have also claimed that the plaintiffs have not alleged an ascertainable loss. Plaintiffs have alleged that they have suffered monetary damages as a result of defending multiple vexatious suits initiated by the defendants and the consequent delays in opening Blue Back Square, and that these damages were in excess of $30,000,000.00. The allegations are sufficient to meet the requirements of the "cigarette rule."

Defendants claim that the CUTPA claim must be stricken because defendants' actions in filing and allegedly abusing process did not occur in the conduct of trade or commerce. Specifically, defendants claim that they cannot be liable under CUTPA because initiating lawsuits is not their primary line of business. The logical conclusion of this strained reasoning would be that only lawyers would be subject to lawsuits sounding in CUTPA based upon vexatious litigation and abuse of process since only lawyers commence litigation and initiate service of process as part of their primary line of business. As indicated above, this position has already been rejected by numerous courts.

With regard to the West Hartford case, the plaintiffs and the private developers were parties to the Master Agreement which provided for the development of Blue Back Square with public and private investments. The Council was the legislative arm though which the town of West Hartford acted and, as such, is a proper party to the action. The private developers were to contribute $110 million dollars and the plaintiffs were to contribute $48.8 million dollars. The public fund would be provided by the plaintiffs through the issuance of municipal bonds. In essence, the plaintiffs were partners with the private developers in the Blue Back Square project. They claim a loss of tax revenue, lost revenue from the parking fees in the area of the Blue Back Square Project and increased financing costs as the result of the defendants' actions. The allegations in the plaintiffs' Amended Complaint are sufficient, if proven, to establish a CUTPA claim.

III. CONCLUSION

Based upon the foregoing reasons, the Defendants' Motions to Strike are denied.

THE COURT