BRENDA I. TIRADO
CITY OF TORRINGTON
October 24, 2017
I. Tirado, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).
M. LaMere, corporation counsel, for the appellee (defendant).
Keller, Elgo and Bear, Js.
plaintiff, Brenda I. Tirado, appeals from the judgment of
dismissal rendered by the trial court for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. The dispositive issue in this appeal is
whether the court improperly dismissed the plaintiff's
action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to her
failure to (1) file her complaint within one year of the tax
assessment pursuant to General Statutes § 12-119, and
(2) exhaust available administrative remedies prior to filing
an action pursuant to General Statutes §
12-117a. We agree that the court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff failed to exhaust
her administrative remedies prior to filing suit pursuant to
§ 12-117a, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. On March 22, 2010, the city of Water-bury issued a
certificate of change for the 2004 grand list, removing the
plaintiff's motor vehicle therefrom, after receiving
information from the plaintiff that she resided in Torrington
on October 1, 2004. The city of Waterbury forwarded its
certificate of change to the defendant, the city of
Torrington. On March 24, 2010, after receiving the Waterbury
certificate of change, the defendant's tax assessor
issued a certificate of change and added the plaintiff's
motor vehicle to its 2004 grand list.
February 10, 2014, the plaintiff filed a complaint in the
judicial district of Waterbury, claiming that the defendant
issued a certificate of change after the three year statutory
limit set forth in General Statutes §
12-57. On March 3, 2014, the defendant filed an
answer, denying that the expiration of any limitations period
required the defendant's tax assessor's office to
remove the plaintiff's name from the list of individuals
owing taxes to the defendant. On October 20, 2015, the
plaintiff filed a certificate of closed pleadings and a claim
February 8, 2016, the court, Shapiro, J., granted
the defendant's motion to transfer the matter to the
judicial district of Litchfield because an aggrieved taxpayer
must bring an application for relief in the judicial district
where the town or city is located. See General Statutes
§§ 12-117a and 12-119.
April 26, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary
judgment and a memorandum in support thereof, claiming that
the defendant acted without authority when it added the
plaintiff's motor vehicle to its 2004 grand list on March
24, 2010, pursuant to General Statutes § 12-60. On April
27, 2016, the defendant objected to the plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment, arguing that the certificate of
change was issued pursuant to § 12-57 (b), not §
12-60. On April 28, 2016, the plaintiff filed a reply brief
in further support of her motion for summary judgment, but
she withdrew her summary judgment motion on May 4, 2016.
Thereafter, on May 12, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion to
strike the defendant's answer, which the court, Shah,
J., denied on May 17, 2016, on the grounds that the
motion was untimely filed more than two years after the
filing of the defendant's answer and did not contain an
accompanying memorandum that was required pursuant to
Practice Book § 10-39.
day bench trial took place on May 17, 2016. Following trial,
the court rendered a judgment of dismissal for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction because ‘‘[t]he
plaintiff failed to exhaust available administrative remedies
before she filed the present action pursuant to . . . §
12-117a. . . . She also failed to file her complaint within
one year of the assessment if she had proceeded under . . .
§ 12-119.'' (Citations omitted.) This appeal
begin by setting forth our standard of review.
‘‘A determination regarding a trial court's
subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law. When . . .
the trial court draws conclusions of law, our review is
plenary and we must decide whether its conclusions are
legally and logically correct and find support in the facts
that appear in the record.'' (Internal quotation
marks omitted.) Stones Trail, LLC v. Weston, 174
Conn.App. 715, 735, 166 A.3d 832, cert. dismissed, 327 Conn.
926, 171 A.3d 59 (2017).
present case, the issue of subject matter jurisdiction was
raised by the court sua sponte, as it was entitled to
‘‘[I]t is a fundamental rule that a court may
raise and review the issue of subject matter jurisdiction at
any time. . . . Subject matter jurisdiction involves the
authority of the court to adjudicate the type of controversy
presented by the action before it. . . . [A] court lacks
discretion to consider the merits of a case over which it is
without jurisdiction . . . . The subject matter jurisdiction
requirement may not be waived by any party, and also may be
raised by a party, or by the court sua sponte, at any stage
of the proceedings, including on appeal.'' (Internal
quotation marks omitted.) Id., 736. ‘‘[W]henever
it is found . . . that the court lacks jurisdiction of the
subject matter, the judicial authority shall dismiss the
action.'' Practice Book § 10-33.
our determination of whether the court erred in dismissing
the plaintiff's case for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction depends, in part, on whether § 12-119 or
§ 12-117a applies to the plaintiff's claim, we first
address the plaintiff's argument on appeal that
§§ 12-119 and 12-117a do not apply to an appeal of
a tax assessment under §§ 12-57 and
12-60. We agree with the plaintiff that the court
erred in ruling that § 12-119 was applicable to her