• New Haven J.D., at Meriden
  • CV14-5006231S
  • Jan 31 2014 (Date Decided)
  • Fischer, J.

A quo warranto action may only be brought against the holder of a "public office." The plaintiff citizens brought a quo warranto action and alleged that various defendants were not properly recommended and appointed by the mayor of Meriden, Manual Santos. One of the defendants, David Lowell, moved to dismiss and argued that a quo warranto action could not be brought against him, because he did not hold a "public office" in his position as a member of the municipal Economic Development, Housing and Zoning Committee. "In a quo warranto proceeding, the title to be challenged must be a public office," pursuant to New Haven Firebird Society v. Board of Fire Commissioners, a 1991 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. "All that is required is that the powers and duties of the position have their source in sovereign authority and that such position be invested with some portion of such sovereign power to be expended for the benefit of the public," pursuant to Carleton v. Civil Service Commission, a 1987 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The Superior Court found that the purpose of the Economic Development, Housing and Zoning Committee is to hold hearings and to make nonbinding recommendations to the city council. David Lowell, as a member of the committee, which only makes nonbinding recommendations, lacks the ability to exercise sovereign power for the benefit of the public. "[I]t is clear that the defendant’s power, even when exercised," wrote the court, "does not bind the city council." David Lowell does not hold a "public office," and the court dismissed the quo warranto action against him.

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