TOWN OF NEWTOWN et al.
January 7, 2019
from Superior Court, Judicial District of Bridgeport, Richard
P. Gilardi, Judge Trial Referee.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
M. Fleischer, for the appellant (defendant).
M. Schellenberg, Orange, with whom was Jason A. Buchsbaum,
Bridgeport, for the appellees (plaintiffs).
C. J., and Bright and Beach, Js.
Conn.App. 452] The defendant, Scott Ostrosky, appeals from
the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to dismiss
the action and to open and vacate the courts prior judgment
that had been rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, the town
of Newtown and several of its agencies and
appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court lacked
subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the plaintiffs
claims, (2) he was deprived of his due process right to
notice and the opportunity to be heard on the merits of his
case, and (3) the court had continuing jurisdiction to
enforce and to modify its injunctive orders even if the
motion to open and to vacate judgments was untimely. We
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
record reveals the following facts and procedural history.
This case arises out of efforts by the plaintiffs to enforce
cease and desist orders relating to activity on the
defendants property. The defendants property comprises 21.9
acres of land, of which 5.5 acres are [191 Conn.App. 453]
located in Newtown. The majority of the defendants property
is located in the town of Monroe. On August 13, 2013, Steve
Maguire, the plaintiff land use enforcement officer for the
town of Newtown, issued two cease and desist orders, which
were served on the defendant on August 21, 2013. One order
cited several conditions that allegedly violated zoning
regulations, including the presence of unregistered vehicles,
commercial vehicles, inoperable vehicles, waste, abandoned
material, and junk accumulation. The order required the
defendant to take corrective action within thirty days to
avoid fines or legal actions. The second order noted
violations of inland wetlands regulations, including
"clearing, filling, deposition, and removal of material
within the regulated wetland area." Failure to
"cease and desist all activities" bore potential
fines and penalties of up to $1000 per day. (Emphasis
December, 2013, the plaintiffs initiated the underlying
action, seeking, inter alia, injunctive relief compelling the
defendant to comply with the cease and desist orders and to
submit an application to the Inland Wetlands Commission of
the Town of Newtown to remediate affected areas. The
complaint also sought civil fines, penalties, and attorneys
fees. The defendant was served with this summons and
complaint on January 13, 2014, by a state marshal.
February 7, 2014, Attorney Thomas Murtha filed an appearance
on behalf of the defendant. The plaintiffs [191 Conn.App.
454] moved pursuant to Practice Book § 9-5 to consolidate the
action with a similar action brought by the town of Monroe
and several of its agencies and employees. See
Monroe v. Ostrosky, Superior Court,
judicial district of Fairfield, Docket No. CV-14-6041168-S.
After the cases were consolidated, Murtha moved to withdraw
his appearance on the ground of a conflict of interest with
the town of Monroe. A hearing on the motion to withdraw was
scheduled for June 23, 2014. An order included in the notice
of hearing required that "[p]ursuant to Practice Book §
3-10, notice must be given to attorneys of record and your
client(s) must be served with the motion. " There is
no indication in the record that Murtha notified the
defendant of his intention to withdraw. At the hearing on the
motion to withdraw, Attorney Peter Karayiannis from Murthas
law office appeared on behalf
of the defendant. The following colloquy occurred before the
court, Bellis, J. :
"The Court: Is [the defendant] present?
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: Hes not, Your Honor.
"The Court: And do you have the proof of service?
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: We havent gotten the green
card back, but hes aware of the conflict, and hes been
advised to retain new counsel.
"The Court: So— and can you represent that hes
received a copy of the motion?
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: I dont know if hes— I
havent spoken to him about that, so I wouldnt want
"The Court: Does he know— can you represent that
he knows its down today?
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: I dont know if [Attorney]
Murtha spoke to him about that. If you would like, I [191
Conn.App. 455] can try to place a call. I know Attorney
Murtha [is] in court too.
"The Court: Right. Do you know if he has an objection to
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: I do not— I do not
believe he has an objection to it, no, Your Honor.
"The Court: All right.
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: Were kind of stuck with it. I
mean, if theres a conflict—
"The Court: No, I understand that. I just— I just
want to make sure he is not blindsided, thats all. And since
the motion was just— you know, we put it on—
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: Understood.
"The Court: — for today. I mean, Im— I
dont know that its going to make much of a difference
anyway, but Ill grant it based on the representation that he
consents to the motion being granted.... But counsel, since I
granted this without [the defendant] here and without knowing
for sure that he received a copy of the motion, what Im
going to do is, Im going to require your office to send
correspondence to [the defendant], giving him the new hearing
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: Okay.
"The Court: — for both cases, and carbon copy that
letter. I mean, its just going to be one line, the new
hearing— you know.
"[Attorney] Karayiannis: Do you want me to send him a
copy of the order as well or— todays order or—
"The Court: You probably ...