--- Am. Tribal Law ----, 2020 WL 439909 (Mohegan Trial Ct.), 1 M.T.C.A. 6
Mohegan Tribal Trial Court.
John DRABIK, et al., Appellant
DOCKET NO. AP-18-0001
January 21, 2020


This case arises out of an appeal by John Drabik, et al. against The Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, et al. by way of a Second Amended Complaint dated August 16, 2017 in Four Counts. This appeal addresses only Counts One through Three which were the subject of the Court’s (Guernsey, C.J.) Memorandum of Decision dated April 19, 20181 and Memorandum of Decision dated July 25, 20182. Oral argument was heard on October 7, 2019. For reasons set forth below, the judgment of the trial court is AFFIRMED.



By way of a Second Amended Complaint dated August 16, 20173, the plaintiffs, John Drabik and Ancient Highway Towers, LLC, brought claims alleging Tortious Interference with a Business Relationship (Count One), Negligence (Count Two), Negligent Supervision (Count Three), and Trespass (Count Four). As to Counts One, Two and Three, paragraphs 1 through 35 are identical. In said Counts, the plaintiffs allege ownership of parcels of land in East Lyme, Connecticut by John Drabik in a business relationship with AT&T to construct and maintain a cellular telecommunications tower on Drabik’s property. As part of its application process, AT&T utilized the Federal Communications Commission’s Tower Construction Notification System (TCNS). In response to such notification, defendant, Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Elaine Thomas, noted “substantial stone groupings” on property adjacent to the Drabik property which would impact the “view shed”, thus causing “an Adverse Effect of the properties of traditional religious and cultural significance to the Mohegan Tribe”4. The plaintiffs claim that no such view shed existed and that the defendant’s statements were false. The plaintiffs claim that the failure of the defendants to further respond to the requests from the plaintiffs caused AT&T to abandon this subject property and to terminate its relationship with the plaintiffs, all causing damage to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs set forth in Paragraph 30 various facts by which they allege that the Defendants had knowledge of the relationship between the plaintiffs and AT&T and the business purpose for the telecommunications tower. Finally, as to Count One, the plaintiffs have alleged that the aforesaid knowledge and conduct constituted a tortious interference with the business relationship.

As noted, Count Two re-alleges paragraphs 1 through 35 as summarized above. Count Two further alleges that the defendants were negligent by virtue of their above misrepresentation of the view shed, causing injury to the plaintiffs.

As noted above, Count Three incorporates paragraphs 1 through 35. Count Three further alleges that the defendants failed to properly monitor its employees, Elaine Thomas and James Quinn, who allegedly made factually inaccurate statements in response to this TCNS application process, causing AT&T to terminate its business relationship with the plaintiffs and causing damage to the plaintiffs.

Lastly, Count Four alleges that Elaine Thomas and James Quinn walked onto the aforesaid Drabik property and/or a third parcel of land without the consent or permission of Mr. Drabik, causing loss to the plaintiffs.

The Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss and/or Strike dated September 6, 20175 to which the Plaintiff’s objected on November 13, 20176. The Plaintiffs Reply Memorandum in Support of their Motion to Dismiss and/or Strike was filed on December 29, 20177. Well-argued memorandums of law were filed on the above respective dates by plaintiffs and defendants. By way of a Memorandum of Decision dated April 19, 20188, the Court granted the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Counts One, Two and Three and denied defendants’ Motion to Strike as to Count Four. After a Motion to Reargue and Reconsider Judgment filed by the plaintiffs on May 3, 20189 and objections thereto filed by the Defendants on May 4, 201810, the plaintiffs’ Motion to Reargue and Reconsider Judgment was denied by the Court on July 25, 201811, culminating in the instant appeal after the Court granted the plaintiffs’ Motion for Determination Pursuant to Conn. Practice Book Section 61-4(a).12



This Court, per curiam, adopts the well-reasoned analysis of the trial court found in its Memorandum of Decision on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and/or to Strike13 and its similarly well-reasoned analysis found its Memorandum of Decision on Plaintiffs Motion to Reargue and/or Reconsider Judgment14. The allegations found in Counts One, Two and Three fail and must be dismissed since the noted response thereto “was preliminary to a quasi-judicial proceeding and entitled absolute privilege”15. The Trial Court denied the Motion to Dismiss as to plaintiffs’ Count Four. Accordingly, this case is remanded to the Trial Court to address the allegations contained in Count Four of the plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint. The judgment of the Trial Court is hereby AFFIRMED as to Counts One, Two and Three of the Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint.

In this opinion, Judges Manfredi and McNamara concurred.

All Citations
--- Am. Tribal Law ----, 2020 WL 439909, 1 M.T.C.A. 6



Record No. 7.


Record No. 10 page.


Record No. 3.


See generally, Record No. 3, Second Amended Complaint, para. 16 & 17.


The record Table of Contents (No. 4) erroneously lists the filing date as September 6, 2018).


Record No. 5.


Record No. 6.


Record No. 7.


Record No. 8.


Record No. 9.


Record No. 10.


Record no 12, 13.


Record No. 7.


Record No. 10.


Record No. 10 at p. 234 (Trial Court pleading 142 at p.8).