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Connecticut Appeals

What is appealable?

To What Court Do You Appeal?

How long do you have to appeal?

What Is the Status of the Judgment Pending Appeal?

Q: What is appealable?

The first step in the Connecticut appellate process is knowing what decisions can be appealed to either the Appellate Court or the Supreme Court. With one exception, only decisions of the Superior Court can be appealed. The exception is in workers’ compensation cases where appeals bypass the Superior Court and go directly to the Appellate Court. See Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 31-301b; P.B. § 76-1. Other administrative decisions, as well as Probate Court decisions, must first be appealed to the Superior Court.

In deciding whether a Superior Court decision is appealable, you should
consider the following questions:

1. Are you a party in the Superior Court? If the answer is ‘‘no,’’ you generally cannot appeal. Instead, you should consider whether a writ of error would be appropriate. See P.B. § 72-1.

2. Is the decision final? If the answer is ‘‘no,’’ you generally cannot appeal or file a writ of error. In certain instances, interlocutory orders have been deemed final for purposes of appeal. It is beyond the scope of this FAQ to explain when a decision is final. As a starting point, however, see the seminal case in this area, State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27 (1983).

In addition, you may appeal pursuant to statute from certain nonfinal orders. These orders include:

a. decisions concerning mechanic’s liens, prejudgment remedies and
lis pendens; C.G.S. §§ 49-35c, 52-278l and 52-325c;

b. temporary injunctions involving labor disputes; C.G.S. § 31-118;

c. orders or decisions certified by the Chief Justice as being of substantial
public interest and in which delay may work a substantial injustice;
C.G.S. § 52-265a;

d. orders concerning court closure and sealing or limiting disclosure of
court documents, affidavits or files; C.G.S. § 51-164x; and

e. certain partial judgments; P.B. §§ 61-2 through 61-5.

3. Are you aggrieved (legally harmed) by the decision? If the answer is ‘‘no,’’ you generally cannot appeal.

4. Is the subject matter of the decision appealable? In general, the answer is ‘‘yes.’’ The following are exceptions:

a. Small claims decisions are not appealable; C.G.S. § 51-197a; although denial of a timely motion by the defendant to transfer a small claims case to the regular docket can be reviewed by a writ of error
under P.B. § 72-1;

b. Criminal contempt decisions and decisions of the sentence review division are not appealable; file a writ of error instead. See P.B. § 72-1.

5. Do you need permission to appeal? In general, the answer is ‘‘no.’’ There are statutes and rules, however, that require parties to obtain permission to appeal. Rulings that require permission include:

a. Superior Court decisions on appeals from local zoning and inland wetlands agencies, which require the filing and granting of a petition for certification by the Appellate Court; C.G.S. §§ 8-8, 8-9, 8-30a and 22a-43(d); see P.B. § 81-1.

b. Habeas corpus decisions concerning prisoners, which are appealable by either side only with the permission of the judge who tried the case; C.G.S. § 52-470; see P.B. § 80-1.

c. Denials of petitions for new trials in criminal cases, which are appealable upon the granting of certification by the trial court; C.G.S. § 54-95.

d. Rulings disposing of at least one cause of action while not disposing of either (1) an entire complaint, counterclaim or cross complaint or (2) all causes of action brought by or against a party, which require a written determination by the trial court that an appeal would be justified and the concurrence therein by the Chief Justice or Chief Judge; see P.B.§ 61-4.

In addition, General Statutes § 54-96 requires that the state obtain the permission of the trial court to appeal rulings or decisions in criminal cases. If permission or certification to appeal from the rulings listed in paragraphs (b) or (c) above is denied, or if the state is denied permission to appeal, an appeal may still be filed with the denial of permission raised as a threshold

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Q: To What Court Do You Appeal?

In general, appeals go to the Appellate Court. Those that are filed directly in the Supreme Court are listed in C.G.S. § 51-199(b). If the appeal is filed in the wrong court, it will be automatically transferred to the correct court.P.B. § 65-4; see C.G.S. § 52-572.

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Q: How long do you have to appeal?

In general, you have 20 days from the date notice of the judgment or decision is issued by the judge or clerk (not when it is received by the lawyer or litigant). P.B. § 63-1(a). For writs of error, see C.G.S. §§ 52-272 and 52-273.

In a criminal case, whether jury or nonjury, the imposition of sentence, not the verdict, constitutes the judgment.

In a civil jury case, the verdict constitutes the judgment if no timely motion under P.B. §§ 16-35, 16-36 or
16-37 is filed; otherwise, the last ruling on any such motion or motions constitutes the judgment. In a civil nonjury case and in a civil jury case where one or more motions pursuant to P. B. §§ 16-35, 16-36 or 16-37 are filed, the judgment may be orally pronounced by the judge in open court, or it may be contained in a written memorandum of decision signed by the judge and sent to all parties of record by the clerk’s office.

Where a party in a civil case is only one of several plaintiffs or defendants and a final judgment is rendered that takes that party out of the case, special rules apply concerning when to appeal. See P.B. § 61-5. Any aggrieved party may either file an appeal or file a notice of intent to appeal pursuant to P.B.
§ 61-5 to preserve the right to appeal. P.B. § 61-3. The notice of intent to appeal defers the taking of an appeal until a final judgment disposes of the case for all purposes and as to all parties, unless a timely objection to the deferring of the appeal is filed as provided by P.B. § 61-5.

The trial judge generally can grant an extension of time to appeal of up to 20 days. P.B. § 66-1(a). In addition, certain motions filed within the appeal period create a new appeal period that starts to run once the motions are ruled on by the trial court. See P.B. § 63-1(c). Check the statutes and the case law carefully before asking the trial judge to extend the time to appeal or before relying on the granting of one of the motions listed in P.B. § 63-1 to give rise to a new appeal period.

Some statutes provide for shorter periods within which to appeal or seek permission to appeal. These time periods include:

1. 72-hour period to seek review of orders prohibiting attendance at court
sessions and orders sealing or limiting access to documents on file with
the court under C.G.S. § 51-164x (see P.B. § 77-1);

2. 5-day period to appeal summary process judgments (Sundays and legal
holidays excepted) under C.G.S. § 47a-35;

3. 7-day period to appeal orders concerning mechanic’s liens and prejudgment
remedies under C.G.S. §§ 49-35c, 52-278l and 52-325c;

4. 10-day period to seek certification to appeal habeas corpus decisions
under C.G.S. § 52-470;

5. 14-day period to seek permission from the Chief Justice to appeal, pursuant
to C.G.S. § 52-265a (see P.B. § 83-1), from orders or decisions that
involve matters of substantial public interest;

6. 14-day period to appeal orders regarding temporary injunctions in labor
disputes under C.G.S. § 31-118.


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Q: What Is the Status of the Judgment Pending Appeal?

The judgment in most cases is automatically stayed; that is, it cannot be executed on until the time to take an appeal has expired. If an appeal is filed, the stay ordinarily will continue until the case has been resolved. See P.B. §§ 61-11(a) and 61-13. The judgment, however, in certain types of cases is not automatically stayed. See P.B. §§ 61-11(b) and 61-13(a)(2). If there is an automatic stay, a party can ask the trial judge to terminate the stay. P.B. §§ 61-11(c), 61-11(d) and 61-13(d). If there is no automatic
stay, a party can ask the trial judge to order a stay. P.B. §§ 61-12 and 61-13 (d). A party may seek review of a trial court order concerning a stay of execution under P.B. § 61-14.

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