Date: January 3, 2017
from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Robania,
J. [motion to dismiss] Scholl, J. [judgment].
Kenneth R. Slater, Jr., with whom, on the brief, was Kelly C.
McKeon, for the appellant (defendant).
Schoenhorn, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Alvord, Keller and Beach, Js.
defendant, the town of Farmington (town), appeals from the
judgment rendered by the trial court, Scholl, J., in
favor of the plaintiff, Enrico Mangiafico, on his
‘‘Petition to Reopen Assessment.'' The
plaintiff's petition challenged the town's issuance
of various citations for violations of the town's blight
ordinance. On appeal, the town claims that the court,
Robaina, J., improperly (1) denied its motion to
dismiss the plaintiff's action for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, and (2) determined that the town was judicially
estopped from arguing that the plaintiff's claims were
not ripe for adjudication because it had taken an
inconsistent position in a prior action between the
parties.We agree with the town's claims and,
accordingly, remand the case to the trial court with
direction to dismiss the plaintiff's action.
following facts, as either alleged in the petition or
undisputed by the parties,  and procedural history are
relevant to the resolution of the claims on appeal. The
plaintiff's residence, located on Lakeview Drive in
Farmington, suffered extensive damage prior to 2009,
rendering it uninhabitable for a lengthy period of time.
Delays in rebuilding were occasioned by his insurance
carrier. He filed an action against the carrier, and they
reached a settlement in August, 2011. In July, 2012, a group
of residents in the plaintiff's neighborhood filed a
complaint with the town manager concerning the appearance of
the plaintiff's property. Shortly thereafter, a town
official notified the plaintiff of the complaint.
to 2012, the town adopted chapter 88 of the Code of the Town
of Farmington (code) as one of its municipal ordinances. The
provisions of chapter 88 address vacant blighted buildings
that adversely affect property values within the town and
that threaten the health, safety and general welfare of its
residents (blight ordinance). Section 88-4 of the blight
ordinance sets forth procedures for placing properties on a
blighted property list. The ordinance further allows the town
manager, or his designee, to issue citations and to impose a
penalty of not more than $100 per day for violations of the
blight ordinance. Section 88-5 of the blight ordinance and
chapter 91 of the code, titled ‘‘citation hearing
procedure, '' provide property owners with an
administrative procedure for contesting liability for the
blight citations and assessments.
August 14, 2012, the town council voted to add the
plaintiff's property to the town's blighted property
list. The town issued citations and imposed fines from
September 4 through October 15, 2012, in the amount of $4000.
At a hearing held on October 15, 2012, the building citation
hearing officer reduced the amount of the plaintiff's
fines to $2000 and entered an assessment in that amount. When
the plaintiff failed to pay the assessed fines, the town
placed a municipal real estate lien on the plaintiff's
the town issued additional citations and imposed fines of
$100 per day from January 1 to February 19, 2013. The amount
of those fines totaled $4700. The town placed a second
municipal real estate lien on the plaintiff's property
for his failure to pay the $4700 assessed by the hearing
officer on February 21, 2013. Instead of appealing the
assessments entered by the hearing officer to the Superior
Court through the administrative procedure set forth in the
code and General Statutes§ 7-152c (g),  the plaintiff
brought an action alleging a violation of his due process
rights and a taking under the federal and state
constitutions, and the intentional infliction of emotional
distress. He sought declaratory and injunctive relief,
damages, and a discharge of the municipal real estate liens.
Judge Scholl granted the town's motion to dismiss four of
the five counts of the plaintiff's complaint on the
ground that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
Judge Scholl granted the town's motion for summary
judgment on the remaining count after concluding that the
plaintiff could not collaterally attack the validity of the
assessments underlying the municipal real estate liens. The
plaintiff appealed, and we affirmed the judgment of the trial
court. See Mangiafico v. Farmington, 173 Conn.App.
158, A.3d (2017).
various dates between September 9, 2013, and May 27, 2014,
the town again issued citations and imposed fines of $100 per
day for the plaintiff's alleged violations of the
town's blight ordinance. The fines totaled $25, 800. The
plaintiff requested a hearing before the building citation
hearing officer in order to challenge the factual and legal
basis for the citations. By letter dated September 8, 2014,
the town informed the plaintiff that his request for a
hearing was ‘‘premature'' because the
town had not sent him a notice regarding the issued
citations, pursuant to § 88-5 (B) of the code,
which would commence enforcement of the
issued citations. The letter concluded: ‘‘If the
Town chooses to pursue enforcement of such citations, notice
will be issued in accordance with the ordinance.''
October 6, 2014, the plaintiff commenced the present action
against the town, seeking judicial review of the town's
‘‘alleged assessment'' pursuant to §
7-152c, General Statutes §
7-148aa and Practice Book §
23-51.On October 31, 2014, the town filed a
motion to dismiss the plaintiff's action
‘‘because the claims set forth therein are not
ripe for adjudication and the statutory requirements to
enable a Practice Book § 23-51 hearing have not been
met. As a result, the [trial court] lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to hear this case.'' In support of its
motion, the town filed a memorandum of law and an affidavit
by Kathleen A. Eagan, the town manager. In her affidavit, the
town manager attested that no notices for any of the
citations at issue had been sent to the plaintiff pursuant to
§ 7-152c (c),  that no hearing officer had been appointed
in this matter, that no assessments had been entered with
respect to any of the citations at issue, and that no
municipal blight liens had been recorded by the town
regarding those citations.
plaintiff filed an opposition to the town's motion to
dismiss on December 1, 2014. The plaintiff argued that the
matter was ‘‘ripe for review, '' and
that, in any event, the town ‘‘should be
precluded from arguing the absence of ripeness . . . due to
judicial estoppel as a result of the contrary argument it
made regarding the right to a de novo hearing in a pending
2013 action involving a different set of citations, where it
successfully precluded even an injunction, based upon its
assurances to the court that the plaintiff possessed the
right to bring a challenge pursuant to §
7-152c.'' By order issued February 10, 2015, Judge
Robaina denied the town's motion to dismiss. The notice
of the denial provided: ‘‘The [town's]
position is inconsistent with its prior argument ...