Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission of the Town of Wallingford v. Andrews
The proper way to vindicate a legal position is not to disobey the orders, but rather to challenge them on appeal. A cease and desist order issued for Lynn Cooke Andrews to cease wetlands activity on property she owned with Jeffrey Andrews in Wallingford. The Wallingford inland wetlands and watercourses commission denied the Andrews' request for an exemption under C.G.S. §22a-36. The commission ordered the cease and desist order to remain in effect until an application for a farm pond and other proposed activities was submitted and directed the Andrews to complete certain remediation work to disturbed wetlands. A second cease and desist order issued. The Andrews did not appeal from the orders. The commission commenced this action seeking injunctive and other relief. The trial court, stressing that the defendants did not appeal from the decision of the commission that the activities they were performing were not exempt from the act, nor from the first or second cease and desist orders, found in favor of the plaintiff and granted the commission's request for a permanent injunction and remediation order. The defendants appealed, pro se, claiming, first, that the court improperly failed to consider their claim that their farm property had been subject to a per se taking without just compensation. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The trial court did not address the takings claim and the defendants did not take appropriate action to compel a decision by the trial court. The Appellate Court found it had no record on which to decide the issue and did not reach it. The defendants also argued that despite their failure to appeal from the commission's orders, they could continue their farming activity because they legally do not need permission or a permit under C.G.S. §22a-40, §22a-38, §22a-471b, §19a-341, §22a-349 and §1-1(q). However, the trial court properly determined that the defendants could not challenge the cease and desist orders because they had failed to appeal from those orders and the orders had become final. Having failed to appeal, the defendants rendered themselves unable to contest in the trial court the validity of the commission's orders.