January 2, 2019
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Stamford-Norwalk and tried to the court, Scho-field, J.
Emons, J., Tinditt, J.
Charles D. Ray, with whom was Brittany A. Killian, Hartford,
for the appellant (defendant).
J. Zarella, Hartford, with whom, on the brief, was Gary I.
Cohen, Stamford, for the plaintiff (appellee).
Moll and Bear, Js.
Conn.App. 855] In this postdissolution matter, the defendant,
Anthony DeChellis, appeals from the judgments of the Superior
Court granting the motion of the plaintiff, Amber DeChellis,
to confirm the arbitration award and denying his motion to
vacate that award in part. On appeal, the defendant claims
that: (1) the court improperly confirmed the award of
attorneys fees because, to the extent that it was based on
the efforts of Louise Truax, one of the plaintiffs
attorneys, to comply with the orders of the arbitrator, the
award does not conform to the submission; (2) the award of
attorneys fees to Gary Cohen, another of the plaintiffs
attorneys, does not conform to the submission and violates
public policy because the court never approved an agreement
to arbitrate Cohens fees pursuant to General Statutes §
46b-66 (c); (3) the court improperly confirmed the award of
attorneys fees related to motions to reargue the underlying
judgment because the arbitrator exceeded his powers by
issuing an award that was contrary to the dissolution
judgment, which specified that each party should bear its own
fees and costs, and thereby "effectively undid the
carefully crafted financial mosaic rendered by the
[dissolution] court in the underlying dissolution"; and
(4) we should invoke our supervisory authority to provide
guidance to the trial courts [190 Conn.App. 856] with respect
to the proper application of § 46b-66 (c) and reverse the
courts approval of the parties agreement to arbitrate the
plaintiffs motion for counsel fees, dated March 19, 2014. In
response, the plaintiff contends that the defendant has not
preserved any of the claims he raises on appeal and that our
use of supervisory authority is not warranted in this case.
We agree with the plaintiff and, therefore, affirm the
judgments of the court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. The parties marriage was dissolved in January, 2009.
In its memorandum of decision, the dissolution court
determined that "[e]ach party will be responsible for
their own counsel
and expert fees." The parties subsequently engaged in
extensive postjudgment litigation and, beginning in 2012,
voluntarily entered into written agreements to arbitrate
certain disputes. Among the issues the parties submitted
to arbitration were their respective requests for
postjudgment attorneys fees. Specifically, the plaintiff
submitted two motions for attorneys fees to the arbitrator,
and the defendant submitted one motion for attorneys fees to
the arbitrator. The only motion for attorneys fees relevant
to this appeal is the plaintiffs March 19, 2014 motion,
signed by Truax, which stated: "The plaintiff
respectfully represents that this court award her a
reasonable sum of counsel fees, postjudgment, for fees
already incurred by her and to be incurred by her as a result
of the various postjudgment motions."
September 22, 2016, the arbitrator issued his decision on the
motions for postjudgment attorneys fees. The arbitrator
granted the plaintiffs March 19, 2014 motion for attorneys
fees in part, awarding the plaintiff [190 Conn.App. 857]
$444,116.17 in attorneys fees incurred by her for services
rendered by Truax and Cohen. The arbitrator referred to the
court the consideration of certain additional attorneys fees
claims. On September 23, 2016, the plaintiff filed in the
court a motion to confirm the arbitration award, and on
September 30, 2016, the defendant filed a motion to vacate
that award in part. The court held a hearing on November 7,
2016, and thereafter granted the plaintiffs motion to
confirm the arbitration award and denied the defendants
motion to vacate that award in part. This appeal followed.
defendant first claims that the court improperly confirmed
the award of attorneys fees related to Truax efforts to
comply with the orders of the arbitrator because the award
does not conform to the submission. In response, the
plaintiff contends that the defendant has not preserved that
claim on appeal. We agree with the plaintiff.
following additional facts are relevant to this claim. On
September 8, 2015, the arbitrator sent an e-mail to the
parties counsel stating that they "must specifically
apportion in their affidavits for counsel fees attribution of
fees to specific motions, by title date and number, for which
any party seeks an award" (arbitrators order). On
December 1, 2015, Truax submitted an affidavit of attorneys
fees postjudgment. During the arbitration hearing, the
defendants counsel objected when the plaintiffs counsel
sought to admit Truax December 1, 2015 affidavit into
evidence because it did not comport with the arbitrators
order. The parties counsel disagreed as to whether they had
reached an agreement modifying the arbitrators order. On the
basis of that dispute, the arbitrator gave counsel "an
opportunity to submit whatever documents that they wish to
submit and specifically referencing affidavits which [190
Conn.App. 858] comport with this ...