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TRAYSTMAN, CORIC AND KERAMIDAS v. ANDREW J. DAIGLE (AC 24040) Lavery, C. J., and Bishop and West, Js. Argued June 10—officially released September 7, 2004 (Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of New London at Norwich, Hon. D. Michael Hurley, judge trial referee.) Lloyd L. Langhammer , for the appellant (plaintiff). Martin M. Rutchik , with whom was Sharon L. Gibbs , for the appellee (defendant). Opinion WEST, J. In this action on a promissory note to pay $26,873 for legal services, the plaintiff law firm, Traystman, Coric and Keramidas, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, concluding that the note was void and unenforceable. The issue on appeal is whether the court properly found that the note was signed under duress.1 We affirm the judgment of the trial court. The court found the following facts. The plaintiff represented the defendant, Andrew J. Daigle, in his divorce case. A second year associate from the firm, Scott McGowan, handled the defendant’s two day divorce trial. After the first day of trial, April 10, 2002, McGowan told the defendant that he must sign a promissory note in the amount of $26,973, representing amounts then owed to the firm, or else he would withdraw from the case, and the defendant would be forced either to get another attorney or to proceed by himself. The defendant responded that he wanted another attorney, Martin M. Rutchik,2 to examine the note. McGowan urged the defendant to sign the note and assured him that a copy would be sent to Rutchik. Feeling that he had no other choice, the defendant signed the note dated April 10, 2002. The defendant claimed that the words ‘‘[d]ated at Norwich, Connecticut, this 12 day of April, 2002,’’ handwritten onto the note above his signature, were written by someone else after he had signed the note. The court concluded that the note was signed under duress. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court’s findings supporting its conclusion are clearly erroneous. We disagree. ‘‘[O]ur function . . . is not to examine the record to see if the trier of fact could have reached a contrary
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conclusion. . . . Rather, it is the function of this court to determine whether the decision of the trial court is clearly erroneous. . . . This involves a two part function: where the legal conclusions of the court are challenged, we must determine whether they are legally and logically correct and whether they find support in the facts set out in the memorandum of decision; where the factual basis of the court’s decision is challenged we must determine whether the facts set out in the
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