Beyor v. Beyor
As the Connecticut Supreme Court explained in the 2011 decision in Wells Fargo Bank, NA v. Cornelius, "[i]t is a well-settled general rule that the existence of an actual controversy is an essential requisite to appellate jurisdiction…" In this marital dissolution action, the plaintiff, Carlton Beyor, appealed from the judgment of the trial court awarding $12,500 in appellate attorneys' fees to the defendant, Laura Beyor. He claimed that the award was precluded by a valid and enforceable premarital agreement of the parties and that the award was not supported by a factual or evidentiary basis. During the pendency of this appeal, the defendant's appeal, challenging the trial court's ruling finding the parties' premarital agreement enforceable, was dismissed for lack of an appealable final judgment. The defendant did not seek certification to appeal to the Supreme Court. The record and factual assertions of the parties indicated that there was no basis on which the defendant properly could claim any entitlement to attorneys' fees. The defendant represented that the plaintiff provided her with no moneys for attorneys' fees and she was unable to hire an appellate lawyer. She proceeded pro se during the appeal process. The Appellate Court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal as moot. After the dismissal of the defendant's pro-se appeal, the order requiring the plaintiff to pay appellate attorneys' fees to the defendant no longer gave rise to an actual controversy between the parties. There was no practical relief to afford the plaintiff.