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Ciccarelli v. Ciccarelli

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

November 12, 2019

CHARLOTTE CICCARELLI
v.
PAUL CICCARELLI

          Argued September 20, 2019

         Procedural History

         Action for, inter alia, the partition or sale of real property, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven, where the court, S. Richards, J., granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to count one of the complaint and rendered partial judgment for the plaintiff, from which the defendant appealed to this court, which dismissed the appeal; thereafter, the defendant appealed to this court. Appeal dismissed.

          Paul Ciccarelli, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).

          Sheila J. Hall, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          Lavine, Elgo and Moll, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The self-represented defendant, Paul Ciccarelli, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Charlotte Ciccarelli, [1] on count one of a two count complaint. We conclude that the defendant has not appealed from a final judgment and, therefore, dismiss the appeal.

         The relevant facts are not in dispute. At all relevant times, the parties owned real property known as 17 Moulthrop Street in North Haven (property) as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. In 2017, the plaintiff commenced the present action against the defendant. Her complaint contained two counts. In the first count, the plaintiff sought a partition of the property pursuant to General Statutes §§ 52-495 and 52-500 (a). In the second count, the plaintiff sought an accounting and damages pursuant to General Statutes § 52-404 (b).[2] The defendant thereafter filed an answer, in which he denied the allegations of the plaintiff's complaint. The defendant also filed a special defense, alleging that the plaintiff had improperly withdrawn funds from a financial account jointly held by the parties.

         After the pleadings were closed, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on the first count of the complaint, claiming that no genuine issue of material fact existed with respect to her right to a partition of the property. That motion was accompanied by the plaintiff's sworn affidavit. Although the defendant filed an opposition to that motion, he did not submit any documentation in support thereof. Following a hearing on April 23, 2018, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff on the first count of her complaint. The official case detail contains an entry dated April 23, 2018, which states that the court had entered judgment ‘‘as to certain counts of the complaint for the plaintiff-case remains pending.''

         The plaintiff then filed a motion for an order of partition by sale and the appointment of a committee. On May 14, 2018, the court entered a notice of judgment of partition by sale and set a sale date of October 20, 2018.

         On May 29, 2018, the defendant filed an appeal to this court challenging the propriety of the partial summary judgment rendered by the court on April 23, 2019. In response, the plaintiff moved to dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment, which this court granted on June 27, 2018.

         On August 10, 2018, the defendant filed another appeal from the partial summary judgment rendered by the trial court on April 23, 2018. On his appeal form, the defendant states that he brought this appeal ‘‘[t]o overturn the summary judgment in order to stop the sale of the house.'' In response, the plaintiff maintains that the defendant has not appealed from a final judgment, thereby depriving this court of subject matter jurisdiction. We agree.

         ‘‘The lack of a final judgment implicates the subject matter jurisdiction of an appellate court to hear an appeal. A determination regarding . . . subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law . . . . The jurisdiction of the appellate courts is restricted to appeals from judgments that are final. General Statutes §§ 51-197a and 52-263; Practice Book § [61-1] . . . . The policy concerns underlying the final judgment rule are to discourage piecemeal appeals and to facilitate the speedy and orderly disposition of cases at the trial court level. . . . The appellate courts have a duty to dismiss, even on [their] own initiative, any appeal that [they lack] jurisdiction to hear.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Mazurek v. Great American Ins. ...


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