Carmichael v. Stonkus
Practice Book §67-4 sets forth the required content and organization of the appellants' brief, and a failure to comply with these requirements is a basis to deny review. Margaret Carmichael Brushie executed a promissory note for $53,000 to her mother and father, Stanrod and Marietta Carmichael, secured by a mortgage on a parcel of land. The parents commenced a foreclosure action against Brushie and John Stonkus alleging that the note was in default and that Stonkus held title to and was in possession of the premises. Brushie filed a cross complaint against Stonkus with various counts including fraud and seeking to quiet title. The court granted Brushie's motion to consolidate the case with a pending action against Louis Avitabile, Stonkus' attorney. On the plaintiffs' motion, the court severed the cross complaint from the complaint and ordered the foreclosure trial to commence on May 11, 2010 with trial on the cross complaint and consolidated action commencing on April 28, 2010. Stonkus appealed. The trial court disagreed with Stonkus that trial should not commence on Brushie's cross complaint because an automatic stay was in place due to his appeal. The jury found for Brushie on her fraud, conversion and statutory theft counts. The trial court found for her on the count seeking to quiet title. Stonkus appealed arguing that the court abused its discretion in severing the cross complaint and improperly impeded his appeal rights. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The Appellate Court was precluded from reaching the issue of whether the trial court properly exercised its discretion in severing the cross complaint due to an inadequate record. The defendant, as the appellant, bore the burden to provide the court with an adequate record and failed to do so. He failed to provide a hearing transcript or any record of the court's reasoning. The Appellate Court also declined to review either issue raised because both were inadequately briefed. The defendant failed to comply with Practice Book §67-4(a), (c) and (d) including by failing to provide a standard of review as to his second argument. His legal analysis was found woefully lacking with neither application nor analysis of the legal authority cited.