Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 9, 2016

CT Appeals Court Upholds Use of Emergency Provision of City Code to Demolish Unsafe Porches and Stairways Finding No Violation of Due Process or Equal Protection and No Need to Disqualify City Attorney

Editor’s Note: This case is reprinted with permission from Bond Case Briefs. Special thanks to the new editor who is maintaining the legacy of founders Charles and Rita Carlson.

Property owner brought action against city, alleging claims for negligence and nuisance, violations of city code, and denial of due process and equal protection after city demolished porches and stairways that a city building inspector determined were in immediate danger of falling so as to endanger life.

The Superior Court denied property owner’s motion to disqualify city’s office of corporation counsel, and following a bench trial rendered judgment for city. Property owner appealed.

The Appellate Court held that:

Emergency provision of city code did not violate property owner’s due process rights on the basis it did not contain an appeal provision;

Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by denying property owner’s motion to disqualify the city’s office of corporation counsel;

Property owner, through counsel, waived his right to a jury trial;

Property owner did not have a due process right to prior notice and a pre-deprivation hearing before city demolished outside stairways and porches;

Superior Court did not err by failing to give preclusive effect to mayor’s opinion that city violated property owner’s right to due process;

Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by allowing building inspectors to testify as to their observations of property owner’s premises; and

Evidence was insufficient to support property owner’s claim for pecuniary damages.

Brown v. City of Hartford, 160 Conn.App. 677, 2015 WL 6142877 (CT App. 10/27/2015)

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