Habetz v. Condon

In Habetz v. Condon, 224 Conn. 231, 618 A.2d 501 (1992) . . . the court more fully addressed the bad faith exception and held that proof of a homeowner's bad faith will preclude that homeowner from repudiating with impunity a home improvement contract that violates the act. The Court defined bad faith as involving actual or constructive fraud, or a design to mislead or deceive another, or a neglect or refusal to fulfill some duty or some contractual obligation, not prompted by an honest mistake as to one's rights or duties, but by some interested or sinister motive. . . . In other words, bad faith means more than mere negligence; it involves a dishonest purpose." Wadia Enterprises, Inc. v. Hirschfeld, 224 Conn. 240, 247-48, 618 A.2d 506 (1992). "The central element giving rise to this exception is the recognition that to allow the homeowner who acted in bad faith to repudiate the contract and hide behind the act would be to allow him to benefit from his own wrong, and indeed encourage him to act thusly. Proof of bad faith therefore serves to preclude the homeowner from hiding behind the protection of the act." Habetz v. Condon, supra, at 237. "It is the burden of the party asserting the lack of good faith to establish its existence and whether that burden has been satisfied in a particular case is a question of fact." Id., at 237 n.11. In its memorandum of decision, the court stated: "None of the acts alleged was committed prior to the execution of the disputed contract. There is no evidence that the defendants did anything to create the defects in the cancellation notice. . . . The balance of the acts complained of arose out of the deteriorating relationship between the parties and can hardly be held to be actions in bad faith when the defendants were confronted with what must have been an exasperating ordeal. The plaintiff overlooks the evidence in this trial, which hardly depicts a neat, orderly and efficient project proceeding on time and without delay. The bad faith claim must be rejected."