J.P. Alexandre, LLC v. Egbuna
The Connecticut Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, C.G.S. §12-39n, provides no implied right of action and explicitly states that the rights afforded to taxpayers therein are "available only insofar as they are implemented in other parts of the general statutes or rules or regulations of the Department of Revenue Services…" Following a successful tax deficiency assessment appeal through which the claimed tax deficiency of $155,536.77 was reduced to $94,690.22 and penalties vacated, the plaintiffs, Yvon Alexandre and J.P. Alexandre, LLC filed a 10 count complaint against Louis Egbuna, a revenue examiner with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, and Paul Greenfield, the tax unit manager for the audit division. The trial court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as to all counts. The plaintiffs appealed challenging the trial court's judgment as to their federal statutory and constitutional claims and the court's conclusion that C.G.S. §12-39n does not create an independent tort cause of action. The Appellate Court agreed with the trial court that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the challenged claims but found the form of the judgment improper. The judgment was reversed and the case remanded with direction to render judgment dismissing the action. The plaintiffs had no right to bring an action against Egbuna under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for alleged violations of their federal constitutional rights to due process and equal protection because C.G.S. §12-422 provided an adequate legal remedy for the plaintiffs' claims seeking monetary damages. The trial court correctly concluded that C.G.S. §12-422 did not create an exhaustion requirement under the circumstances but, rather provided an adequate remedy under state law. In making that determination, the trial court properly relied on the Connecticut Supreme Court's 1985 decision in Zizka v. Water Pollution Control Authority and 1996 decision in Jade Aircraft Sales, Inc. v. Crystal. The trial court also properly concluded that C.G.S. §12-39n provides no implied right of action because there is no indication of legislative intent, explicit or implicit, to create such a remedy. An implied remedy was not needed to ensure the effectiveness of C.G.S. §12-39n because the remedies available to taxpayers in the general statutes and the department's regulations adequately protected the rights in C.G.S. §12-39n.