Redding Life Care, LLC v. Town of Redding
A town may use hypothetical conditions in calculating the fair market value of a property. The town of Redding board of assessment appeals upheld the assessor's valuation of property owned by the plaintiff, Redding Life Care, LLC, a for-profit limited liability company that operates Meadow Ridge, an entry fee continuing care retirement community. The trial court denied the plaintiff's appeal. The plaintiff appealed claiming that the court improperly concluded, first, that it failed to establish aggrievement under C.G.S. §12-117a, because the going concern income capitalization approach applied by the plaintiff's expert to value the property was not a permissible valuation method under Connecticut law and, secondly, that the town's assessment of the property was not manifestly excessive under C.G.S. §12-119, despite its reliance on assumptions regarding income known to be untrue and, if corrected, would have reduced the fair market value of the property by more than $30 million. The majority of the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. The trial court properly concluded that the plaintiff did not establish aggrievement. The court rejected the plaintiff's valuation for lack of credibility because it was based on calculations and a formula that did not reflect a reasonable value of the real estate. The court did not conclude that the going concern income capitalization approach was not recognized in Connecticut. For the C.G.S. §12-119 claim, the plaintiff had the burden of demonstrating that the town overvalued the property and that the assessment constituted a misfeasance or malfeasance by the assessor. The plaintiff's claim of misconduct was that the assessor relied on a hypothetical condition, a fact known to not actually exist in arriving at the total value of Meadow Ridge as a going concernspecifically, $4,800,000 of annual interest income from a nonexistent entrance fee escrow account. The majority concluded that the assessor's use of a hypothetical condition was not a misfeasance or malfeasance and the claim under C.G.S. §12-119 lacked merit. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice contemplates the use of hypothetical conditions and their use, without more, is insufficient evidence to support a claim that a property assessment was manifestly excessive under Connecticut General Statutes §12-119. Justice Eveleigh, with whom Justices Harper and Vertefeuille joined, dissented, finding the assessment, based on admittedly false and untrue assumptions, manifestly excessive.