City of Norwich v. Shelby-Posello
Connecticut General Statutes §47a-35a, which requires a defendant in a summary process action occupying a "dwelling unit" who appeals to post a bond virtually contemporaneously with the appeal or to file a motion for use and occupancy payments in lieu of bond, is silent as to the precise procedure for setting the amount of the bond and does not expressly state whether an appeal should be dismissed if no bond is set in the first place. The trial court rendered judgment for the plaintiff, the city of Norwich, in its summary process action against the defendant, Laura Shelby-Posello. The defendant appealed. The plaintiff moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the defendant failed to provide the bond required by C.G.S. §47a-35 and §47a-35a. The Appellate Court concluded that the appeal should be dismissed unless the defendant filed a motion to set bond or a motion for use and occupancy payments in lieu of bond pursuant to C.G.S. §47a-35a. When the appeal was filed, the defendant did not provide a bond or file a motion for use and occupancy payments within the five day appeal period prescribed by the statutory scheme. Although failure to provide a bond furnishes a sufficient ground for dismissal of an appeal in a summary process action, a bond amount never was set. C.G.S. §47a-35a(a) is silent as to the precise procedure for setting the amount of the bond and does not expressly state whether an appeal should be dismissed if no bond is set in the first place. The Appellate Court reviewed the legislative history and concluded that the literal language is unworkable to the extent that it requires the defendant to file a bond with security in a precise amount within the five day appeal period. The intention of the legislature, as revealed in the current scheme and in light of its history, is to provide security for landlords during the appeal process and to provide for dismissal of appeals in which security is lacking. The process was sufficiently delineated in the 1969 Public Act; the clarity was diminished by subsequent revisions. The Appellate Court held that under the current scheme, the defendant has the obligation to initiate the security process.