Hector L. CASABLANCA
March 19, 2019
from the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford
and tried to the court, Suarez, J.;
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Brandon B. Fontaine, with whom, on the brief, was C. Michael
Budlong, Hartford, for the appellant (defendant).
R. Dembo, with whom were Caitlin E. Kozloski, Hartford and,
on the brief, P. Jo Anne Burgh, Glastonbury, for the appellee
Keller and Beach, Js.
Conn.App. 608] In this marital dissolution action brought by
the plaintiff, Hector L. Casablanca, the defendant, Anolan
Casablanca, appeals from the judgment of the trial court
resolving certain postjudgment motions. On appeal, the
defendant claims that the court erred by (1) granting the
plaintiffs motion to compel the defendant to execute the
plaintiffs proposed qualified domestic relations order
(QDRO) and (2)
granting the plaintiffs motion in limine to preclude the
defendant from offering parol evidence in support of her
motion to open the dissolution judgment. We conclude,
contrary to the decision of the trial court, that the
provision of the dissolution settlement agreement at issue in
this case is ambiguous. Thus, we determine that the court
should have considered extrinsic evidence of, and made
additional factual findings regarding, the parties intent in
agreeing to this provision before it denied the defendants
motion to open the judgment and adjudicated the plaintiffs
motion to compel the defendant to sign the proposed QDRO.
Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court and remand
this case for further proceedings.
record reveals the following relevant facts and procedural
history. The parties were married on July 23, 2005. The
parties marriage was dissolved on January 21, 2016. On that
date, the parties entered into a separation agreement
(agreement). Article 11 of the agreement (retirement asset
provision), titled "Retirement/Stock Accounts,"
provided: "The husband shall transfer to the wife, via
QDRO, fifty (50%) percent of the value of the marital portion
of his benefit under the City of Hartford [190 Conn.App. 609]
Municipal Retirement fund, valued as of date of dissolution,
minus the amount of the wifes Social Security Benefit. The
assigned benefit shall be paid as a separate interest payment
over the life of the wife. The husband shall retain his Mass.
Mutual 457 Plan and wife shall make no claim to same.
Attorney Jeffrey Winnick shall prepare said QDRO(s) and the
parties shall be equally responsible for the cost of
same." The court, Suarez, J., found the
agreement fair and equitable and incorporated its terms into
the dissolution judgment. Attorney Winnick subsequently
prepared a proposed QDRO and transmitted it to the parties.
The defendant refused to sign it.
23, 2016, the defendant filed the first of a series of
motions to open the dissolution judgment. On October 25, 2016,
the plaintiff filed a motion captioned "motion to
compel," which sought a court order requiring the
defendant to execute the proposed QDRO. On February 14,
2017, the defendant filed the operative motion to open the
dissolution judgment on grounds of mutual mistake and
unilateral mistake, and on the basis of equitable principles.
Specifically, she contended that the relevant part of the
retirement asset provision, the phrase " minus the
amount of the wifes Social Security Benefit, was entered
upon mutual mistake of the parties." In her memorandum
of law in support of the motion, the defendant maintained
that [190 ...