Claude v. Claude
It is the appellant's burden to provide the Appellate Court with an adequate record, but, here, the appellant could not be faulted for the trial court's failure to file a memorandum of decision in compliance with Practice Book §64-1 when the appellant complied with the rules of practice but the judge retired before issuing a memorandum of decision or articulation as ordered. Phenol Claude filed this defamation action against Julia Claude. She moved for a nonsuit against the plaintiff for failing to respond to interrogatories and requests for production. The court, Holzberg, J., ordered compliance by Oct. 1, 2010 or a nonsuit may be granted. On Oct. 7, 2010, the defendant filed another motion for nonsuit. The court, Wiese, J., granted the motion by ordering compliance by Dec. 31, 2010 "or nonsuit shall enter upon reclaim of motion." On Feb. 7, 2011, Judge Holzberg granted the motion for nonsuit and rendered judgment thereon. Judge Holzberg denied the plaintiff's motion to open the judgment via a postcard order stating, "Denied" and denied the plaintiff's motion for articulation. The plaintiff appealed and filed notice that no memorandum of decision was filed. Pursuant to Practice Book §64-1(b), the clerk notified the trial court by letter dated Oct. 4, 2011. The Appellate Court granted the plaintiff's Dec. 19, 2011 motion to compel the trial court to comply with Practice Book §64-1. Despite the Appellate Court's order to file a memorandum of decision or signed transcript and further motions, Judge Holzberg retired from the bench in Sept. 2012 without filing a memorandum of decision. Without a memorandum of decision or any articulation, the Appellate Court was unable to determine the factual or legal basis for the motion to open's denial. Although it is the plaintiff's burden to provide the panel with an adequate record, the plaintiff here could not be faulted for the trial court's failure to file a memorandum of decision in compliance with Practice Book §64-1. Under these unique circumstances, particularly the plaintiff's compliance with the rules of practice and the timing of the trial judge's departure, the motion's denial could not stand. The judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for a new hearing on the motion to open.