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BOULEVARD ASSOCS. v. SOVEREIGN HOTELS

November 14, 1994

Boulevard Associates, Plaintiff,
v.
Sovereign Hotels, Inc., DAKA, INC., and DAKA INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendants.


Motley


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY

Background

 In this court's opinion of August 30, 1994 plaintiff was awarded reliance damages, punitive damages, offer of judgment interest on the reliance damages, punitive damages and attorney's fees beginning from the date that plaintiff filed its complaint until the date of the opinion. Simultaneously, the court entered an order to that effect. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration which was granted. The court thereafter on September 19, 1994 amended its order to provide for offer of judgment interest to run from the date the complaint was filed to the date of entry of final order as to all damage awards. The court rendered its opinion on August 30, 1994 and it did not address the specific amount to be awarded as attorney's fees to plaintiff since no hearing on same had been held or as to the amount recoverable as costs and expenses incurred in connection with this litigation under the contract between the parties. Since there had been no hearing as to these items or response from defendants as to these items, we now address those issues.

 Discussion

 In this court's opinion of August 30, 1994, it concluded that plaintiff was entitled to attorney's fees and costs under the very terms of the lease agreement. As Article 9.0 of the lease provides in pertinent part:

 
The Tenant shall indemnify and hold harmless the Landlord against all liabilities, damages and other expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees, which may be imposed upon, incurred by, or asserted against the Landlord by reason of any of the following occurring during the terms of this Lease:
 
* * *
 
(b) Any failure on the part of the Tenant to perform or comply with any covenant required to be performed or complied with by the Tenant hereunder.

 This court has already found that Sovereign willfully breached the lease agreement by intentionally defaulting on its rent obligation; therefore, plaintiff is fully entitled to recover reasonable costs and attorney's fees under the lease.

 In the alternative, attorney's fees may be awarded to plaintiff based upon the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). In order to award fees under CUTPA, the plaintiff must have prevailed on the CUTPA cause of action. Vezina v. Nautilus Pools, Inc., 27 Conn. App. 810, 610 A.2d 1312 (Conn. App. Ct. 1992). As this court stated in its earlier opinion:

 Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. ยง 42-110g(d), plaintiffs are entitled to reasonable attorney's fees. This section provides in relevant part:

 
In any action brought by a person under this section, the court may award, to the plaintiff, in addition to the relief provided in this section, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees based on the work reasonably performed by an attorney and not on the amount of recovery.

 This Section allows the award of attorneys' fees without reference to plaintiff's actual monetary award to further the policy of encouraging "private attorney generals" to bring law suits to vindicate important rights. Freeman v. Alamo Management Co., 24 Conn. App. 124, 586 A.2d 619 (Conn. App. Ct. 1991), rev'd on other grounds, 221 Conn. 674, 607 A.2d 370 (1992); Gill v. Petrazzuoli Bros., Inc, 10 Conn. App. 22, 521 A.2d 212, 218 (Conn. App. Ct. 1987). The rights referred to in Gill are such rights as freedom from commercial fraud and commercial unfair dealing. Therefore, this court ...


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