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Chestnut Point Realty, LLC v. Town of E. Windsor

Appellate Court of Connecticut

July 21, 2015

CHESTNUT POINT REALTY, LLC
v.
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR

Argued April 8, 2015

Page 1230

Appeal from the decision of the defendant's board of assessment appeals upholding the town assessor's valuation of certain real property, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford and transferred to the judicial district of New Britain, where the court, Hon. Arnold W. Aronson, judge trial referee, granted the defendant's motion to dismiss, and rendered judgment thereon, and the plaintiff appealed to this court.

SYLLABUS

The plaintiff, the owner of certain real property located in the defendant town of East Windsor, appealed to the town's board of assessment appeals from the decision of the town's tax assessor with respect to the 2012 valuation of its property. The board denied the plaintiff's request for a change of the assessment and mailed its notice of decision to the plaintiff on May 1, 2013. Although the plaintiff filed an application in the trial court, which it styled as a complaint, within the two month time period prescribed by the statute (§ 12-117a) that governs appeals from decisions of the board, the plaintiff did not serve the application, citation, and recognizance on the town until July 10, 2013, after the two month period had expired. The trial court granted the town's motion to dismiss the appeal on the ground that it was untimely and, therefore, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiff appealed to this court, claiming that the filing of the application and citation with the trial court timely commenced its appeal. Held that the trial court properly dismissed the plaintiff's appeal as untimely, as § 12-117a requires that an appeal be served and returned in the same manner as a summons in a civil action, it is well settled that a civil action is commenced by the service of process, and it was undisputed that the plaintiff here did not serve the town until after the two month period had expired; moreover, this court found unavailing the plaintiff's claim that the term " application" in § 12-117a should be interpreted in the same manner as that term is used in the statute concerning a motion to vacate, modify, or correct an arbitration award, as applications to confirm or vacate an arbitration award are special proceedings rather than civil actions like the present tax appeal.

Jonathan M. Starble, for the appellant (plaintiff).

Laura A. Cardillo, with whom, on the brief, was Tiffany K. Spinella, for the appellee (defendant).

Lavine, Beach and Prescott, Js. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

OPINION

LAVINE, J.

Page 1231

[158 Conn.App. 566] The plaintiff, Chestnut Point Realty, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its real estate tax appeal.[1] On appeal to this court, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly concluded that General Statutes § 12-117a[2] required it to serve its appeal on the defendant, the Town of East Windsor

Page 1232

(town), within two months following notice of a decision by its Board of Assessment Appeals (board). More specifically, the plaintiff claims that (1) it met the filing and service requirements of § 12-117a and (2) the court failed to distinguish properly the procedural differences between § 12-117a and common-law civil actions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The following undisputed facts are relevant to this appeal. The plaintiff is the owner of real property located at 171 Main Street in the town. For purposes of the town's grand list of October 1, 2012, the town [158 Conn.App. 567] assessor valued the plaintiff's property at $1,829,330. The plaintiff appealed from the assessment to the board and appeared at a hearing to request a reduction in the assessment. On April 29, 2013, the board ...


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