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Bloch v. Ullman

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 19, 2016

ROBERT M. BLOCH
v.
ANDREW ULLMAN., ET AL.

          Argued April 13, 2016

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, Wilson, J.

          Robert M. Bloch, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

          Irving H. Perlmutter, self-represented, with whom, on the brief, was Andrew M. Ullman, self-represented, the appellees (defendants).

          Lavine, Alvord and Sheldon, Js.

          OPINION

          LAVINE, J.

         The self-represented plaintiff, Robert M. Bloch, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his action against the defendant attorneys, Andrew Ullman and Irving Perlmutter, on the ground that he failed to file a recognizance bond as required by General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 52-185.[1] The issue on appeal, as succinctly stated by the defendants, [2] is whether a judgment of dismissal properly entered against the plaintiff on December 9, 2014, when he failed to comply with the November 24, 2014 order of the court, Wilson, J., that he file a recognizance bond for costs in accordance with Practice Book § 8-4[3] and General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 52-185 within two weeks.[4]We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The record discloses the following facts. On August 14, 2014, the plaintiff filed an application, asking the court to waive the entry fee and service of process fee, [5]which was granted by the court, A. Robinson, J., on August 18, 2014. On August 26, 2014, the plaintiff commenced the present action against the defendants.[6]

         On or about August 28, 2014, Perlmutter sent the plaintiff a letter via first class and certified mail, in which he stated: ‘‘This will acknowledge receipt of your summons and complaint dated August 14, 2014.

         ‘‘Pursuant to Section 8-3 (a)[7] of the Connecticut Superior Court Rules and Section 52-185 of the Connecticut General Statutes, you are required to furnish a bond for prosecution of your action. You have failed to do so and the summons contains no recognizance.

         ‘‘In accordance with Practice Book § 8-7[8] you are hereby requested to furnish a recognizance signed by some financially responsible person as surety that you shall prosecute your action to effect and answer all damages if you do not make your plea good.

         ‘‘You are required to either refuse this request or to file a satisfactory bond within a reasonable time after receipt of this request in accordance with the provisions of Practice Book Section 8-7.’’ (Footnotes added.)

         The plaintiff returned the summons and complaint to court on September 8, 2014. On October 7, 2014, pursuant to Practice Book § 10-30, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s action with an accompanying memorandum of law. In their memorandum of law, the defendants stated that the plaintiff’s action was returnable to court on October 7, 2014, and that the summons was signed by an assistant clerk of the Superior Court, permitting issuance of process. The memorandum continued: ‘‘On the summons form, in the space provided for statutory recognizance required by Section 52-185 et seq. of the Connecticut General Statutes, no one was recognized nor was there provided the necessary security for costs as required by [§] 52-185 . . . . On August 28, 2014, in accordance with [Practice Book §] 8-7, the defendants requested that the plaintiff provide a recognizance for costs signed by some responsible person as provided by [§] 52-185 . . . . By reason of the failure of the [plaintiff] to respond to the request that he furnish security for costs as required by statute and rule [of practice], the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss this action in accordance with the provisions of [Practice Book §] 8-5 (a).’’

         The defendants acknowledged that Judge Robinson had approved the plaintiff’s application to waive certain fees, but noted that the plaintiff had not requested a waiver of recognizance. The defendants argued that the court has no authority to waive the provisions of § 52-185, citing Steinkamp v. Jacque, 36 Conn. Supp. 37, 41, 410 A.2d 489 (1979). Moreover, the defendants argued that the plaintiff’s cause of action will require substantial discovery, at least a deposition of the plaintiff, and a recognizance of $250 might not be sufficient to cover taxable costs. The defendants, therefore, requested a more substantial recognizance for costs.

         On November 20, 2014, the plaintiff filed what the Superior Court clerk’s office coded as a letter, which stated: ‘‘The summons I filed in [this case] was deficient in that it did not contain a recognizance bond. I wish that I had this pointed out and explained to me when I filed my summons and my complaint at the Court Clerk’s Office on August 14, 2014. I am representing myself pro se and have limited Court experience in my background.

         ‘‘I now believe I understand enough about the process and procedure to remedy the situation. As I understand it, from the Court Clerk, this requirement can be complied with by paying a $250 fee to the Court ...


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