N.D.R. Liuzzi, Inc. v. Lighthouse Litho, LLC
The denial of a motion to reargue an interlocutory finding of contempt prior to the issuance of any penalty is not a final judgment for purposes of appeal. N.D.R. Liuzzi, Inc. and Liuzzi Real Estate, Inc. initiated this summary process action against Lighthouse Litho, LLC, alleging a failure to pay rent and lease termination by lapse of time. A stipulated judgment of possession entered for the plaintiffs with a stay of execution through Nov. 24, 2011. A summary process execution for possession issued. The defendant's application for an ex parte temporary injunction under C.G.S. §52-471, to restrain the plaintiffs from executing on the judgment was granted. The plaintiffs objected. The parties entered another stipulation under which the defendant agreed to make certain payments and completely to vacate the property by Feb. 23, 2012. The defendant failed to make the payments. The plaintiffs reclaimed an objection to the defendant's motion to quash execution. The plaintiffs' agent removed some of the defendant's belongings from the property. The court granted the defendant's motion for contempt, finding the plaintiffs violated the court's ex parte temporary injunction order by removing the defendant's belongings, but deferred ruling on penalties. The plaintiffs appealed from the denial of their motion to reargue and from the contempt finding. Finding that these decisions were not appealable final judgments, the Appellate Court dismissed the appeal. The plaintiffs' claim lacked merit that the court's contempt finding was an appealable final judgment under C.G.S. §52-400d (a). That statute, enacted as part of the Postjudgment Remedies Act, C.G.S. §52-350a, had no bearing on this type of action. The proceedings on the motion for contempt were not commenced to enforce a money judgment and did not constitute a postjudgment procedure within the meaning of Chapter 906. The civil contempt finding was not an otherwise appealable final judgment. It satisfied neither prong of the test established in the 1983 Supreme Court decision in State v. Curcio. The contempt finding, unaccompanied by any penalty, sanction or instruction on purging the contempt, did not terminate a separate and distinct proceeding. Further proceedings were required. Additionally, because the decision granting the motion for contempt was not a final judgment, the subsequent denial of the motion to reargue that same decision likewise was not an appealable final judgment.