Gores v. Rosenthal

Decision Date28 March 1961
Citation148 Conn. 218,169 A.2d 639
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesLandis GORES v. Richard L. ROSENTHAL. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

David S. Maclay, Bridgeport, for appellant (plaintiff).

Francis J. McNamara, Jr., Stamford, Conn., with whom, on the brief, were Walter B. Lockwood and Clifford R. Oviatt, Jr., Stamford, for appellee (defendant).

Before BALDWIN, C. J., and KING, MURPHY, MELLITZ and SHEA, JJ.

SHEA, Associate Justice.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that on or about March 26, 1953, the defendant requested the plaintiff to perform certain architectural work, that the plaintiff rendered the services, and that the defendant has failed to pay for them although requested so to do. After some intermediate pleadings, the defendant filed an amended answer in which he denied the truth of the matters contained in the complaint. He also filed a counterclaim asserting that the only contract in existence between the parties waws in writing, that it was dated October 23, 1952, and that it contained a clause providing that any controversy or claim arising out of or related to the contract should be settled by arbitration. In the counterclaim, he requested the court to order the parties to proceed with arbitration under the written contract and to stay the action pending the arbitration. The plaintiff filed a motion to expunge the counterclaim. The motion was denied. Thereafter, on March 20, 1959, the plaintiff filed a reply admitting the execution of a written contract on October 23, 1952, but denying that it had any relevance to the action.

On March 25, 1959, the plaintiff instituted in the Superior Court a new and independent proceeding requesting an order directing the defendant to proceed with arbitration of the plaintiff's claim for a balance due by reason of services rendered before April, 1953, under the written contract of October 23, 1952. In the new proceeding, the defendant, by his answer, asserted that he was willing to arbitrate and requested the court to enter an order directing arbitration of any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to the contract or any breach thereof. At the same time, acting under General Statutes § 52-409, he filed, in the present action, a motion to stay the proceedings, claiming, in effect, that the question whether the services rendered after April 1, 1953, were under the 1952 written contract was an issue common to both cases and that all further proceedings in the present action should be stayed until the claim under the written contract was arbitrated. The court granted the motion pending the determination of the proceedings in the second case. The decision was based upon § 52-409 and the inherent power of the court to regulate proceedings before it. The plaintiff has appealed from the order. He also claims that the court erred in denying the motion to expunge the counterclaim.

In this court, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the stay was not a final judgment from which an appeal could be taken. We denied the motion without memorandum. The basis for our denial was that the motion presented a substantial question which could more properly be determined in connection with our consideration of the record on the appeal. We are now satisfied that the granting of the stay was not an appealable decision. Lack of jurisdiction to hear an appeal requires its dismissal whenever and however the defect comes to our attention. Gimbel v. Gimbel, 147 Conn. 561, 566, 163 A.2d 451; Bardes v. Zoning Board, 141 Conn. 317, 318, 106 A.2d 160; Willard v. Town of West Hartford, 135 Conn. 303, 306, 63 A.2d 847.

Under the circumstances of this case, an appeal lies only from a final judgment. General Statutes § 52-263; Dewart v. Northeastern Gas Transmission Co., 139 Conn. 512, 514, 95 A.2d 381; France v. Munson, 123 Conn. 102, 109, 192 A. 706. The test whether a judgment is 'final,' in the sense that an appeal may be taken from it, lies not in its nature, for the case may still remain in the trial court for further proceedings, but in its effect as concluding the rights of some or all of the parties. Banca Commerciale Italiana Trust Co. v. Westchester Artistic Works, Inc., 108 Conn. 304, 307, 142 A. 838. If such rights are concluded so that further proceedings after the entry of the judgment cannot affect them, then the judgment is 'final' and may be made the basis of an appeal. Ibid.; State v. Fahey, 146 Conn. 55, 57, 147 A.2d 476. An order staying proceedings does not terminate the action but merely postpones its disposition. It may be modified or vacated by the court whenever, in the exercise of a sound discretion, it is considered necessary or proper to do so. 1 C.J.S. Actions § 134, p. 1417. It is an interlocutory order. Baltimore Contractors, Inc. v. Bodinger, 348 U.S. 176, 179, 75 S.Ct. 249, 99 L.Ed. 233; Schoenamsgruber v. Hamburg American Line, 294 U.S. 454, 456, 55 S.Ct. 475, 79 L.Ed. 989; Board of Education of Addyston Village School Dist. v. Nolte-Tillar Bros. Construction Co., 79 Ohio App. 193, 198, 71 N.E.2d 311. The plaintiff, therefore, has attempted to appeal from an interlocutory order. There was no final judgment and this court has no jurisdiction of the...

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34 cases
  • State v. Parker
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • December 18, 1984
    ...operates to postpone criminal prosecution in much the same way that a motion to stay impacts on a civil case. In Gores v. Rosenthal, 148 Conn. 218, 221, 169 A.2d 639 (1961), we held that "[a]n order staying proceedings does not terminate the action but merely postpones its disposition. It m......
  • Monroe v. Monroe
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • October 1, 1979
    ...Banca Commerciale Italiana Trust Co. v. Westchester Artistic Works, Inc., 108 Conn. 304, 307, 142 A. 838, 839; Gores v. Rosenthal, 148 Conn. 218, 221, 169 A.2d 639; and finally, if the rights of the parties are concluded so that further proceedings cannot affect them, then the judgment is f......
  • State v. Spendolini
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • January 25, 1983
    ...whether the motion is granted; Prevedini v. Mobil Oil Corporation, 164 Conn. 287, 293-94, 320 A.2d 797 (1973); Gores v. Rosenthal, 148 Conn. 218, 221, 169 A.2d 639 (1961); or denied. Russell Lumber Co. v. Smith & Co., 82 Conn. 517, 74 A. 949 Except in double jeopardy cases; Abney v. United ......
  • Success Centers, Inc. v. Huntington Learning Centers, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • September 1, 1992
    ...is interlocutory and, therefore, not appealable. Schwarzschild v. Martin, 191 Conn. 316, 323-24, 464 A.2d 774 (1983); Gores v. Rosenthal, 148 Conn. 218, 169 A.2d 639 (1961); see also KND Corporation v. Hartcom, Inc., supra, 5 Conn.App. at 337, 497 A.2d 1038. Section 52-410, on the other han......
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