S. A. [*]
October 10, 2019
for relief from abuse, brought to the Superior Court in the
judicial district of Stamford, where the court, Sommer,
J., granted the application; thereafter, the court
granted the defendant's motions to vacate and transfer
and for reargument or reconsideration and transferred the
matter to the judicial district of New Haven, where the
court, Tindill, J., denied the application and
issued sanctions against the plaintiff, and the plaintiff
appealed to this court. Affirmed.
B., self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).
DiPentima, C. J., and Lavine and Bishop, Js.
self-represented plaintiff, M. B., appeals from the trial
court's order denying his application for relief from
abuse seeking the issuance of a domestic violence restraining
order against the defendant, S. A., who he alleges has
engaged in a ‘‘continuous pattern of stalking and
harassment.” Specifically, the plaintiff contends that
the court abused its discretion in (1) denying his
application for relief from abuse and (2) issuing sanctions
against him pursuant to Practice Book § 1-25 for filing
a frivolous application for relief from abuse. We affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
following facts, as evidenced by the record, and procedural
history are relevant to our consideration of this appeal. On
August 3, 2018, the plaintiff filed, pursuant to §
46b-15, an application for relief from abuse seeking a
temporary restraining order against the defendant. The
plaintiff alleged in the application for relief from abuse
that the defendant engaged in a “clear and continuous
pattern of stalking and harassment” that included
incidents of her secretly photographing the plaintiff in
public, and hiring a third party to surveil the plaintiff at
his apartment in Greenwich. The court, Tindill, J.,
thereafter set a hearing date for August 17, 2018. That
hearing resumed on September 10, 2018, and concluded on
September 11, 2018.
hearing, both the defendant and the self-represented
plaintiff appeared, testified, and submitted evidence on the
issue of the plaintiff's application for relief from
abuse. The court, Tindill, J., subsequently denied
the plaintiff's application for relief from abuse and,
pursuant to Practice Book § 1-25, issued sanctions
against him for filing a frivolous General Statutes §
46b-15 application. Accordingly, the plaintiff was ordered to
pay the defendant's attorney's fees incurred in
defending against the application. This appeal
followed. Additional facts and procedural history
will be set forth as necessary.
the plaintiff has presented ten issues on appeal,
substance of his claims is encapsulated within two broader
claims. The plaintiff asks this court to consider whether the
trial court abused its discretion in (1) denying his
application for relief from abuse on the basis of the
evidence presented at trial and (2) issuing sanctions in the
form of attorney's fees against him for filing a
frivolous § 46b-15 application. Following our review of
the record, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse
its discretion. We address both claims in turn.
plaintiff's first claim on appeal is that the court
abused its discretion in denying his application for relief
from abuse from the defendant. Specifically, the plaintiff
claims that the court erred in making several findings by
improperly considering or failing to consider certain facts
in evidence. For example, the plaintiff asserts that the
court “abused its power . . . in finding that the
plaintiff was not terrified by the defendant.”
Additionally, the plaintiff contends that the court
“abused its power . . . in denying [the]
plaintiff's attempt to introduce exhibits/evidence of a
third party stalking.” The record reveals that the
court did in fact admit the evidence that the plaintiff
claims was not introduced. The plaintiff also argues that the
court did not give the weight to the evidence that he felt it
deserved. We disagree.
first set forth the applicable standard of review. “The
standard of review in family matters is well settled. An
appellate court will not disturb a trial court's orders
in domestic relations cases unless the court has abused its
discretion or it is found that it could not reasonably
conclude as it did, based on the facts presented. . . . It is
within the province of the trial court to find facts and draw
proper inferences from the evidence presented. . . . In
determining whether a trial court has abused its broad
discretion in domestic relations matters, we allow every
reasonable presumption in favor of the correctness of its
action. . . . [T]o conclude that the trial court abused its
discretion, we must find that the court either incorrectly
applied the law or could not reasonably conclude as it did. .
. . Appellate review of a trial court's findings of fact
is governed by the clearly erroneous standard of review. . .
. A finding of fact is clearly erroneous when there is no
evidence in the record to support it . . . or when although
there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the
entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed.'' Krahel v.
Czoch, 186 Conn.App. 22, 47, 198 A.3d 103, cert. denied,
330 Conn. 958, 198 A.3d 584 (2018).
is well established that [i]n a case tried before a court,
the trial judge is the sole arbiter of the credibility of the
witnesses and the weight to be given specific testimony . . .
and the trial court is privileged to adopt whatever testimony
[she] reasonably believes to be credible. . . . On appeal, we
do not retry the facts or pass on the credibility of
witnesses.” (Internal ...