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Kettle Brook Realty, LLC v. Town of E. Windsor

Appellate Court of Connecticut

July 21, 2015

KETTLE BROOK REALTY, LLC
v.
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR

Argued April 8, 2015

Appeal from the decision of the defendant's board of assessment appeals denying the plaintiff's appeal from the valuation of certain of the plaintiff's 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 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 the plaintiff's property. The board denied the plaintiff's request for a change of the assessment and mailed notice of the decision to the plaintiff. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed an application that was titled a complaint in the Superior Court within the two month time period prescribed by the statute (§ 12-117a) that governs appeals from decisions of the board, but the plaintiff did not serve the application, citation, and recognizance on the town until after the two month period had expired. The trial court granted the town's motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that the plaintiff's appeal was untimely. The court conclude that service of process was necessary to commence an appeal pursuant to § 12-117a, and the plaintiff appealed to this court. Held that the plaintiff's claim having been fully addressed and rejected by this court in the companion case of Chestnut Point Realty, LLC v. East Windsor (158 Conn.App. 565');">158 Conn.App. 565), which involved the same underlying facts and issue on appeal, that decision was dispositive of the plaintiff's claim, and, accordingly, the trial court's judgment was affirmed.

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 1277

[158 Conn.App. 577] The plaintiff, Kettle Brook Realty, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its real estate tax appeal.[1] On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly concluded that, pursuant to General Statutes § 12-117a,[2] it was required to serve the defendant, the Town of East Windsor (town), within two months of the date notice of a decision by its Board of Assessment Appeals (board) was mailed. More particularly, 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.

There is no dispute with regard to the following underlying facts. The plaintiff is the owner of real property located at 96 Prospect Hill Road in the town. With regard to the town's Grand List as of October 1, 2012, the town's tax assessor valued the plaintiff's property at $4,089,130. The plaintiff appealed the assessment of the property to the board and appeared before the board to request a reduction in the assessment. On April 29, 2013, the board denied the plaintiff's request for a [158 Conn.App. 578] change of the assessment. The assessor mailed the board's decision to the plaintiff on May 1, 2013.

On June 28, 2013, the plaintiff filed an application in the Superior Court. The application was titled " Complaint" and bore a return date of July 23, 2013. On July 10, 2013, a marshal served the application, citation, and recognizance on the town and on July 17, 2013, filed the return of service in court. On August 14, 2013, the town filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff had failed to serve the appeal within two months of the date notice of the board's decision was mailed. The plaintiff opposed the motion to dismiss contending that there is § 12-117a does not require a tax appeal to be served within two months of the board's decision and that § 12-117a " clearly requires a tax appeal be commenced by filing an application with the court within two months after the town's action." (Emphasis in original.) The parties appeared before the court to argue the town's motion to dismiss. The court issued a memorandum of decision on April 14, 2014, in which it granted the motion.

In adjudicating the motion to dismiss, the court stated that the present case is a companion case ...


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