Yanaros v. Town of Cromwell
A resident who receives a fine for a municipal health code violation may be required to file an appeal to the Superior Court within 30 days, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §7-152c. A neighbor complained that the smoke stack from the plaintiff's boiler allegedly was delivering smoke into the neighbor's home. On Jan. 23, 2012, the Town of Cromwell investigated and issued a health code citation. The plaintiff objected. On March 20, 2012, a municipal hearing officer upheld the health code citation and informed the plaintiff that unless he paid a $100 fine within 30 days, the municipality would file its notice of decision and assessment with the Superior Court, which would enter a judgment. At the hearing, the municipal hearing officer handed the plaintiff a written notice of decision and assessment. The plaintiff did not pay, and the Superior Court entered a judgment in the amount of $100, plus costs of $8. On June 15, the municipality sent the plaintiff another notice of decision and assessment that informed the plaintiff there was no appeal process available, other than the appeal process in the Connecticut General Statutes. C.G.S. §7-152c permits an appeal to be filed with the Superior Court within 30 days of mailing of the notice of assessment. The statute provides, "A person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this section is entitled to judicial review by way of appeal. An appeal shall be instituted within thirty days of the mailing of notice of such assessment by filing a petition to reopen assessment, together with an entry fee in an amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to section 52-259, at a superior court facility." The Superior Court rejected the plaintiff's argument that the appeals period began to run on June 15 and found that the appeals period began to run on March 20, 2012. "[D]espite the incorrect title and confusing content of the June 15 letter," wrote the court, "the issuance of that letter by the defendant did not renew the thirty day appeal period." The court granted the municipality's motion to dismiss.