Samnard Associates, LLC v. City of New Britain
Connecticut General Statutes §12-111(a), as amended by Public Act 09-196, precluded a second tax appeal within the same revaluation period. Samnard Associates, LLC, authorized its tenant, Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, to appeal the assessment of Samnard's property in New Britain for the Oct. 1, 2007 grand list to the city's board of assessment appeals. The board reduced the assessed value from $11,173,100 to $9,875,700 for the revaluation date. Neither Wal-Mart nor Samnard appealed the decision. Samnard subsequently challenged the assessment of the same property for the Oct. 1, 2009 grand list. The board made no change in the valuation. Samnard appealed to the Superior Court. The court granted the city's motion for summary judgment finding that the plaintiff was barred from bringing the appeal until the next statutorily mandated revaluation scheduled for Oct. 1, 2012. The court concluded that P.A. 09-196 was a substantive change to the law which could not be applied retroactively but that the plaintiff sought an unlawful interim revaluation. The plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment, albeit on different grounds, finding that C.G.S. §12-111(a) as amended by P.A. 09-196 precluded the plaintiff's subsequent tax appeal. P.A. 09-196 amended subsection (a) of §12-111 and, relevantly, added language that "[w]hen the board increases or decreases the gross assessment of any taxable real property or interest therein, the amount of such gross assessment shall be fixed until the assessment year in which the municipality next implements a revaluation of all real property…unless" the increase or decrease is made under certain circumstances not present here. The plaintiff did not contest the city's claim that if this provision of P.A. 09-196 were applied retroactively, the plaintiff would be precluded from seeking a further reduction in the assessed value of its property. The amendment was silent with respect to whether it clarified or changed C.G.S. §12-111. Given remarks in the legislative history and the omission of prospective application language found in other sections, the Appellate Court concluded that the language at issue in §1 was simply a clarification of the original statutory intent and was to be applied retroactively. Thus, the trial court ultimately reached the correct result in rendering summary judgment for the defendant.