October 17, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of New Britain, Woods,
Xavier Pryor, for the appellant (plaintiff).
Lavine, Beach and Bishop, Js.
landlord-tenant case, the plaintiff, Lacey Pedrini, appeals
from the judgment of the trial court returning to her
$1094.81, a portion of her security deposit plus interest. On
appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred by:
(1) failing to award her double the amount of her security
deposit pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) §
47a-21 (d) (2); (2) failing to find that the actions of the
defendant, Eleanor Kiltonic, constituted a violation of the
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General
Statutes § 42-110a et seq., and, therefore, failing to
assess punitive damages and to award the plaintiff
attorney's fees pursuant to § 42-110g (a) and (d);
and (3) finding that the plaintiff was entitled to only a
portion of her security deposit plus interest. We affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
memorandum of decision, the court found the following facts:
‘‘On or about October 19, 2010, the plaintiff . .
. and the defendant . . . entered into a written lease
agreement for the residential property located at 43 Whitney
Avenue, Southington, Connecticut (hereinafter ‘the
premises'). Upon executing the lease, the plaintiff paid
a security deposit in the amount of $1590 to the defendant.
The lease term was for eighteen months, with a monthly rent
the expiration of the original lease agreement, on or about
April 20, 2012, the parties executed a second written lease.
The second lease term was for three months at the same
monthly rent as the first lease.
or about July 20, 2012, the plaintiff vacated the premises.
Thereafter, on or about July 27, 2010, the plaintiff sent a
letter to the defendant requesting the return of her security
deposit and notifying the defendant of her new address.
or about August 17, 2012, the defendant sent a letter to the
plaintiff in which the defendant stated she intended to
retain [the] plaintiff's security deposit due to alleged
damages to the property caused by the plaintiff. The letter
contained a detailed list of expenses allegedly incurred by
the defendant and deducted the security deposit from said
expenses. The defendant concluded the letter by claiming the
plaintiff owed her additional funds for repairs to the
plaintiff's claim against the defendant contained two
counts: in count one, the plaintiff sought, pursuant to
§ 47a-21 (d) (2), the return of her security deposit,
plus interest, and double damages; in count two, the
plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated CUTPA, and
sought, pursuant to §§ 42-110g (a) and (d),
punitive damages, costs, and attorney's fees. The
defendant filed her answer on October 3, 2012, in which she
set forth special defenses, claiming that she sent the
plaintiff a letter that listed the damages and informed her
that she was retaining the entirety of the security deposit.
She also alleged that the plaintiff yelled and swore at her
when she refused to return the security deposit. The
defendant further alleged that the plaintiff and her dogs
ruined the carpeting in the unit, which was installed at the
beginning of the plaintiff's tenancy and had cost
$1985.29. On October 4, 2012, the plaintiff filed a request
to revise the defendant's special defenses. In it, the
plaintiff requested that the defendant amend her special
defenses to comply with Practice Book §§ 10-51 and
10-1. The defendant neither filed an objection to this
request, nor amended her special defenses. On December 3,
2012, the plaintiff filed a motion for default for failure to
plead, which the court, Abrams, J., granted on
January 11, 2013.
plaintiff then filed a certificate of closed pleadings.
Thereafter, a four day evidentiary hearing took place between
May 24, 2013, and March 7, 2014, during which the defendant
was self-represented. On July 2, 2014, the court, Woods,
J., rendered judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of
$1094.81. In its memorandum of decision, the court declined
to award the plaintiff double damages, attorney's fees
and costs, or punitive damages. Rather, the court awarded the
plaintiff the return of her security deposit plus interest,
totaling $1622.36, reduced by $527.55 for a total award of
$1094.81. The court found that the defendant was entitled to
withhold $527.55 from the plaintiff's security deposit
‘‘for the costs of the water and sewer bills
while the plaintiff occupied the premises, as well as the
exterior cleanup costs.'' The plaintiff subsequently
filed a motion for articulation, and motions for reargument,
for reconsideration, and for additur. All of these motions
were denied by the court. This appeal followed. Additional
facts and procedural history will be set forth as necessary.
important to note at the outset that ‘‘[i]t is
the trier's exclusive province to weigh the conflicting
evidence, determine the credibility of witnesses and
determine whether to accept some, all or none of a
witness' testimony.'' (Internal quotation marks
omitted.) Gallo-Mure v. Tomchik, 78
Conn.App. 699, 715, 829 A.2d 8 (2003). With this in mind, we
turn to the plaintiff's specific claims on appeal.
address first the plaintiff's claim regarding the
court's failure to award her double damages pursuant to
§ 47a-21 (d) (2). The plaintiff argues that because the
defendant wrongfully withheld her security deposit at the end
of her tenancy, the court was required to award the plaintiff
double damages under § 47a-21 (d) (2). We are not
following additional facts are relevant to our resolution of
this claim. The plaintiff's first lease with the
defendant ended on April 19, 2012, and the second lease began
on April 20, 2012. By agreement, the defendant retained the
plaintiff's security deposit from the first lease and
applied it to the second lease, which ended on July 20, 2012.
On July 27, 2012, the plaintiff sent the key to the premises
to the defendant and enclosed her forwarding address. On
August 16, 2012, the defendant sent a letter to the plaintiff
stating that she was not going to return the security
deposit. She enclosed a list of damages that she alleged were
caused by the plaintiff, and the cost of repair for
each. The damages as listed totaled $4526.99.
The defendant stated in the letter that she was retaining the
security deposit, which totaled $1591.64 including interest,
as partial payment for the damages. She requested that the
plaintiff pay the remaining $2935.35 immediately.
denying the plaintiff's request for double damages, the
court stated: ‘‘In the instant case, the
plaintiff-tenant notified the defendant-landlord of her
forwarding address and requested the return of her security
deposit on July 27, 2012. The defendant responded with a
letter, mailed on August 17, 2012, accounting for damages to
the premises allegedly caused by the plaintiff.
Notwithstanding whether the plaintiff actually caused said
damages, the defendant satisfied the requirements of the
security deposit statute by sending an accounting to the
plaintiff within the required thirty day time period. As a
result, the court finds that the plaintiff is not entitled to
double the amount of her security deposit, plus interest. The
court determines that the plaintiff is entitled to the return
of her security deposit, plus interest, in the amount of
$1622.36.'' The ...