Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 10, 2018

CT Appeals Court Found No Evidence to Support Claims that Board Member Gave False Information and Engaged in Ex Parte Communications

This post was authored by Touro Law student Thomas Brown ’20

Suzanne Studioso brought pool tables into her restaurant that were a hit with customers, however, she needed permits to legally have them in the facility. During a hearing, residents complained that the pool tables resulted in increased noise, traffic, and other disturbances in and around the restaurant premises. She was denied permits for the pool tables and appealed, alleging that Dennis Buckley, one of the Board members, dominated the proceedings. She claimed that Buckley gave false information to the Commission and engaged in ex-parte communications with people opposed to the granting of the special permit. The Court found that there was no evidence for plaintiff’s claims, and that even if Dennis Buckley had discussions with opponents of the special permit, notions of fundamental fairness and due process would not necessarily be implicated. The Court further stated that there is a “presumption that members of an administrative agency are not biased,” and that “To overcome this presumption, actual bias, not merely potential bias, must be shown.”

Studioso v. Bridgeport Planning & Zoning Comm’n, 2017 WL 5559299 (Conn. Super. Ct. 10/12/2017)


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