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Town of Glastonbury v. Metropolitan District Commission

Supreme Court of Connecticut

March 6, 2018

TOWN OF GLASTONBURY
v.
METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION

          Argued November 9, 2017

         Procedural History

         Action for a judgment declaring whether the defendant possesses statutory authority to impose surcharges on certain of its customers, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court, Hon. Susan A. Peck, judge trial referee, granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and, exercising the powers of the Superior Court, rendered judgment thereon, from which the defendant appealed. Affirmed.

          Jeffrey J. Mirman, with whom, on the brief, was Alexa T. Millinger, for the appellant (defendant).

          Proloy K. Das, with whom were Joseph B. Schwartz and Robert E. Kaelin, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          Palmer, Robinson, D'Auria, Mullins and Vertefeuille, Js. [*]

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The defendant in this declaratory judgment action, the Metropolitan District Commission, a quasi-municipal corporation that provides potable water to eight member and five nonmember towns in the greater Hartford area, appeals[1] from the judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, the town of Glastonbury. The plaintiff, one of the nonmember towns, brought this action, seeking a determination by the court that, prior to 2014, the defendant unlawfully had imposed surcharges on it and the other nonmember towns. Thereafter, the trial court denied the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's complaint on the ground that the plaintiff was required but failed to join the other nonmember towns as indispensable parties. While this action was pending, the legislature enacted No. 14-21 of the 2014 Special Acts (S.A. 14-21), [2] which amended the defendant's charter by authorizing the defendant to impose a surcharge on nonmember towns in an amount not to exceed the amount of the customer service charge. Following the passage of S.A. 14-21, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the special act was retroactive and rendered the plaintiff's claim moot because it answered in the affirmative the question then pending before the court, namely, whether the defendant had the authority to impose a surcharge on nonmember towns. The trial court disagreed and denied the motion, concluding that S.A. 14-21 was not retroactive, and, therefore, it remained to be determined whether the plaintiff was entitled to relief because the surcharges imposed prior to the passage of the special act were unlawful. Thereafter, the parties filed motions for summary judgment, and the trial court concluded that the surcharges imposed on the plaintiff prior to the passage of S.A. 14-21 were unlawful, the plaintiff's claim was not barred by the equitable doctrine of laches, and the plaintiff's claim was justiciable because the plaintiff was entitled to reimbursement for the payments it had made to the defendant on account of the unlawful surcharges. In accordance with these conclusions, the trial court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court incorrectly determined that the plaintiff's claim was justiciable and not rendered moot by S.A. 14-21 or barred by the doctrine of laches.

         After examining the record and briefs and considering the arguments of the parties, we are persuaded that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed. The issues raised by the parties in their motions for summary judgment were resolved properly in the thoughtful and comprehensive memorandum of decision filed by the trial court.[3] Because that memorandum of decision also fully addresses the arguments raised in the present appeal, we adopt the trial court's well reasoned decision as a statement of the facts and the applicable law on those issues. See Glastonbury v. Metropolitan District Commission, Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Docket No. HHD-CV-14-6049007-S (May 12, 2016) (reprinted at 328 Conn. 326, 330, A.3d [2018]). It would serve no useful purpose for us to repeat that discussion here.[4] See, e.g., Tzovolos v. Wiseman, 300 Conn. 247, 253-54, 12 A.3d 563 (2011).

         The judgment is affirmed.

         APPENDIX

         TOWN OF GLASTONBURY

         v.

         METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION [*]

         Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford File No. CV-14-6049007-S

         Memorandum Filed May 12, 2016

         Proceedings

         Memorandum of decision on motions for summary judgment. Defendant's motion denied; ...


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