ANTHONY V. GUDDO
KIMBERLI M. GUDDO v.
September 6, 2018
for the dissolution of marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New
Haven, and tried to the court, Goodrow, J.; judgment
dissolving the marriage and granting certain other relief;
thereafter, the court denied the plaintiff's motion for
contempt, and the plaintiff appealed to this court.
Anthony V. Guddo, self-represented, the appellant
Anthony, for the appellee (defendant).
Keller, Bright and Pellegrino, J.
self-represented plaintiff, Anthony V. Guddo, appeals from
the judgment of the trial court denying the postdissolution
motion for contempt that he brought against the defendant,
Kimberli M. Guddo. The plaintiff claims that because of a
conflict of interest related to the defendant's counsel,
the hearing on the motion for contempt was unfair. We affirm
the judgment of the trial court.
record reflects that, in August, 2015, the court,
Goodrow, J., dissolved the parties' marriage and
entered financial orders. Thereafter, the plaintiff brought
several contempt motions against the defendant in which he
alleged that she wilfully failed to comply with the
court's orders. On May 23, 2016, the plaintiff filed the
contempt motion underlying the present appeal. Therein, he
alleged, among other things, that, in violation of prior
orders, the defendant failed to make money payments to him
and failed to return personal property belonging to him. The
plaintiff filed the motion for contempt as a self-represented
litigant, appeared as a self-represented litigant during the
relevant proceedings before the trial court, and appears as a
self-represented litigant in the present appeal. In June,
2016, the court granted the defendant's motion for the
appointment of counsel to represent her in connection with
the plaintiff's motion. Thereafter, the defendant was
represented at trial by Bansley, Anthony, Burdo, LLC, and is
so represented in the present appeal.
court held a hearing on the plaintiff's motion for
contempt on November 16, 2016. On December 7, 2016, the court
rendered judgment denying the contempt motion, finding that
the defendant did not wilfully fail to comply with its
orders. This appeal followed.
plaintiff, who was incarcerated during the underlying
proceedings, states in his appellate brief that when the
court held a hearing on his motion for contempt, both he and
the defendant were ‘‘represented'' by the
same law firm, namely, Bansley, Anthony, Burdo,
LLC.He states that one or more persons
associated with the firm not only provided legal assistance
to him with respect to ‘‘incarceration
issues'' in connection with ‘‘the Inmate
Legal Aid Program, '' but also that the firm provided
assistance to him related to the present
‘‘case'' involving the defendant. The
plaintiff baldly asserts that the firm violated numerous
rules of professional conduct and that a conflict of interest
existed. As a result of this impropriety on the part of the
defendant's counsel, the plaintiff argues, the hearing on
the motion for contempt was ‘‘unfair.''
These arguments make up the only claim advanced by the
plaintiff in the present appeal.
record provided to this court does not reflect that the
plaintiff raised the present claim, or any objection
related to the defendant's counsel, before the trial
court. The defendant argues that the plaintiff did not raise
this claim during the hearing or at any time prior to the
present appeal and, responding to this critique, the
plaintiff acknowledges that the present claim is
unpre-served. Moreover, the record is devoid of evidence
to support the factual representations underlying the
plaintiff's conflict of interest claim, which are made
for the first time on appeal. Not surprisingly, it does not
appear in the record that the court considered the claim,
resolved any of the distinct factual issues that arise from
the claim, or ruled on the merits of the claim.
appellate courts, as a general practice, will not review
claims made for the first time on appeal. . . . [A]n
appellate court is under no obligation to consider a claim
that is not distinctly raised at the trial level. . . .
[B]ecause our review is limited to matters in the record, we
[also] will not address issues not decided by the trial
court. . . . The purpose of our preservation requirements is
to ensure fair notice of a party's claims to both the
trial court and opposing parties. . . . These requirements
are not simply formalities. They serve to alert the trial
court to potential error while there is still time for the
court to act. . . . The reason for the rule is obvious: to
permit a party to raise a claim on appeal that has not been
raised at trial-after it is too late for the trial court or
the opposing party to address the claim-would encourage trial
by ambuscade, which is unfair to both the trial court and the
opposing party.'' (Citations omitted; internal
quotation marks omitted.) Gartrell v.
Hartford, 182 Conn.App. 526, 537, A.3d (2018); see
also Practice Book § 60-5 (generally appellate court is
not bound to consider claim not distinctly raised at trial or
arising subsequent to trial).
is no indication in the record before us that the plaintiff
distinctly raised the present claim before the trial court
and he does not argue, nor do we believe, that it would be
appropriate to afford any extraordinary level of review to