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Ellen S. v. Katlyn F.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

August 15, 2017

ELLEN S.
v.
KATLYN F.[*]

          Argued May 25, 2017

         Procedural History

         Application for a civil protective order, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New London and tried to the court, Diana, J.; judgment granting the application, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Cody A. Layton, with whom, on the brief, was Drzislav Coric, for the appellant (defendant).

          Keller, Prescott and Bear, Js.

         Syllabus

         The defendant appealed to this court from the judgment of the trial court granting the plaintiff's application for a civil protection order. The defendant claimed that the trial court improperly determined that there were reasonable grounds tobelieve that the defendant had stalked the plaintiff and would continue to do so in the absence of an order of protection. Held that the defendant's claim that the trial court improperly granted the plaintiff's application for a civil protection order was unavailing; because the defendant failed to obtain a memorandum of decision from the trial court and to include it in the appendix to her brief, and the transcript of the trial court proceedings that the defendant filed with the appellate clerk did not reveal a sufficiently detailed and concise statement of the court's findings, this court could not conclude, on the basis of the limited record before it, that the trial court committed any legal or factual error in reaching the decision that it did, as the scant record did not reflect the errors claimed by the defendant, and the trial court's ruling therefore was entitled to the reasonable presumption that it was correct.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The defendant, Katlyn F., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the application for a civil protection order filed by the plaintiff, Ellen S.[1] The defendant claims that the court improperly determined ‘‘that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant had stalked the plaintiff and would continue to do so in the absence of an order of protection.'' We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The record reveals the following facts. On January 6, 2016, the plaintiff filed an application for an order of civil protection against the defendant. In her application, she alleged in relevant part that she had been the victim of stalking. In her application, she described two occasions in which she was subjected to what she characterized as ‘‘immature behavior'' by the defendant. On one occasion, the defendant yelled at her and almost overturned a table in her direction. On the other occasion, the defendant shoved her using both hands. She alleged that other encounters had occurred, but did not provide details about them. The plaintiff requested that the court order that the defendant (1) not assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow, interfere with or stalk her; (2) stay away from her home; (3) not contact her in any manner; and (4) stay 100 yards away from her. The court granted the application and issued an ex parte civil protection order.

         The court held a hearing on the application on January 19, 2016. This was a joint hearing during which the court also considered an application for a civil restraining order against the defendant that was brought by the plaintiff's boyfriend, the court's denial of which is not a subject of this appeal. It was not disputed that the plaintiff's boyfriend is the defendant's former boyfriend. At the hearing, the plaintiff testified with respect to four separate and distinct incidents, which occurred during an approximately three year period of time, involving herself and the defendant: the first incident occurred at a restaurant referred to as the Harp and Dragon in December, 2015; the second incident occurred at a restaurant referred to as Hot Rod's in December, 2014; the third incident occurred at an establishment referred to as the Oasis Pub; and the fourth incident occurred at a friend's house in the summer of 2014. At the hearing, the court heard testimony from the plaintiff, the plaintiff's boyfriend, the defendant, and a mutual friend of the parties. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court granted the plaintiff's application. The court ordered that the defendant ‘‘not assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow, interfere with or stalk the [plaintiff] with regard to that matter. That order is [going to] be in effect for six months from this date . . . .''[2] This appeal followed.

         The defendant argues that, in granting the plaintiff relief under General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 46b-16a, [3]the court erroneously found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that she committed acts to warrant issuance of the civil protective order and that she will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the applicant. The defendant argues that the court ‘‘erred in its interpretation of and application of the law to the facts.'' In so doing, the defendant first argues that it is reasonable to infer that the court based its decision on a finding that she committed acts constituting stalking in the second degree as described in General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 53a-181d, [4] and, she argues, the evidence presented at the hearing did not support such a finding. Second, the defendant argues that ‘‘[n]o evidence was presented by either party that would indicate that [she] would continue to commit the acts she has been accused of.'' The defendant asks this court to reverse the court's judgment and to remand the case to the trial court with direction to deny the plaintiff's application.

         Initially, we observe that the defendant's appendix does not contain a copy of the trial court's decision. ‘‘It is the responsibility of the appellant to provide an adequate record for review. The appellant shall determine whether the entire record is complete, correct and otherwise perfected for presentation on appeal.'' Practice Book § 61-10 (a); see also Practice Book § 60-5 (‘‘[i]t is the responsibility of the appellant to provide an adequate record for review as provided in [§] 61-10''). The appellant bears the responsibility for providing this court with an appendix that, in part one, ‘‘shall contain . . . opinions or decisions of the trial court . . . .'' Practice Book § 67-8 (b) (1). For reasons that should be obvious, this noncompliance with the rules of appellate procedure is an impediment to this court's review of the defendant's brief as well as the trial court's decision.

         Next, we observe that a copy of the trial court's decision does not appear in the court file. The court's rendering of judgment in favor of the plaintiff in this matter constitutes a final judgment. Pursuant to Practice Book § 64-1 (a), the trial court was required ‘‘[to] state its decision either orally or in writing . . . . The court's decision shall encompass its conclusion as to each claim of law raised by the parties and the factual basis therefor. If oral, the decision shall be recorded by a court reporter, and, if there is an appeal, the trial court shall create a memorandum of decision for use in the appeal by ordering a transcript of the portion of the proceedings in which it stated its oral decision. The transcript of the decision shall be signed by the trial judge and filed with the clerk of the trial court. . . .'' Pursuant to Practice Book § 64-1 (b), ‘‘[i]f the trial judge fails to file a memorandum of decision or sign a transcript of the oral decision in any case covered by subsection (a), the appellant may file with the appellate clerk a notice that the decision has not been filed in compliance with subsection (a). The notice shall specify the trial judge involved and the date of the ruling for which no memorandum of decision was filed. The appellate clerk shall promptly notify the trial judge of the filing of the appeal and the notice. The ...


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