Varley v. Varley

Decision Date26 February 1980
Citation428 A.2d 317,180 Conn. 1
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesAlan R. VARLEY v. Nina B. VARLEY.

Nina B. Varley, pro se.

Joel M. Ellis, Glastonbury, for appellee (plaintiff).



In 1971 the plaintiff Alan R. Varley instituted an action for divorce against the defendant Nina B. Varley. In 1972, after a trial before Hon. John R. Thim, state referee, the issues were found in favor of the plaintiff. Thereafter the defendant moved to open and vacate the judgment and for a new trial based upon newly discovered evidence. After a hearing, the motion was denied. On January 12, 1973, Nina B. Varley appealed to this court from the judgment rendered. The denial of the motion for a new trial was not briefed on the appeal. On March 30, 1976, this court affirmed the judgment.

In 1979 Nina B. Varley filed a renewal of her motion to open and vacate the judgment and for a new trial based upon newly discovered evidence and other causes. After a hearing, the motion was denied. From that denial, this appeal was taken.

The defendant's motion is, in our view, one which challenges the 1972 judgment (1) on the basis of fraud, 1 and (2) on the ground that the state referee lacked the constitutional power to render a judgment.

Where an unsuccessful party has been prevented, by fraud or deception, from exhibiting fully his case and shows that there never has been a real contest in the trial or hearing of the case, a new suit may be sustained to set aside and annul the former judgment and open the case for a new and fair hearing. United States v. Throckmorton, 98 U.S. 61, 65-66, 25 L.Ed. 93 (1878); Pearce v. Olney, 20 Conn. 544 (1850). See also Restatement (Second), Judgments § 116, Tent. Draft No. 6 (1979). Since the record shows that Nina B. Varley was present and participated at every stage of the 1972 proceedings, she cannot prevail on this ground.

To have a judgment set aside on the basis of fraud which occurred during the course of the trial upon a subject on which both parties presented evidence is especially difficult. 2 See, e. g., Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford-Empire Co., 322 U.S. 238, 64 S.Ct. 997, 88 L.Ed. 1250 (1944); Marshall v. Holmes, 141 U.S. 589, 12 S.Ct. 62, 35 L.Ed. 870 (1891). The question presented by a charge of fraud is whether a judgment that is fair on its face should be examined in its underpinnings concerning the very matters it purports to resolve. Such relief will only be granted if the unsuccessful party is not barred by any of the following restrictions: (1) There must have been no laches or unreasonable delay by the injured party after the fraud was discovered. (2) There must have been diligence in the original action, that is, diligence in trying to discover and expose the fraud. (3) There must be clear proof of the perjury or fraud. (4) There must be a substantial likelihood that the result of the new trial will be different. James, Civil Procedure § 11.7, pp. 540-42 (1965); 36 Ill.L.Rev. 894, 896-97 (1942). Furthermore, the granting of such relief must not unfairly jeopardize interests of reliance that have taken shape on the basis of the judgment. James and Hazard, Civil Procedure (2d Ed. 1977) § 13.14, p. 687. On the basis of our examination of the entire record, we conclude that Nina B. Varley is not entitled to the relief sought.

The final claim asserting that the judgment was void because the referee lacked the power to grant it, having been previously decided, is without merit. See Monroe v. Monroe, 177 Conn. 173, 413 A.2d 819 (1979).

There is no error.

In this opinion the other Judges concurred.

1 In her motion, which covers forty pages of the record, Nina B. Varley alleges that the trial was tainted by (a) false testimony; (b) bribery; (c) misconduct of counsel; and (d) misconduct of the state referee.

2 See, e. g., Restatement (Second), Judgments, Tent. Draft No. 6 (1979).

" § 118. Judgment Procured by Corruption, Duress, or Fraud.

(1) Subject to the limitations stated in § 122, a judgment in a contested action may be avoided if the judgment resulted from:


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  • Chapman Lumber, Inc. v. Tager
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 22 Julio 2008
    ...diligent during trial in trying to discover and expose the fraud, and that there is clear proof of that fraud. See Varley v. Varley, 180 Conn. 1, 4, 428 A.2d 317 (1980); see also 2 Restatement (Second), Judgments § 70(2), p. 179 (1982); but see Billington v. Billington, 220 Conn. 212, 218-1......
  • Duart v. Dep't of Corr.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 24 Enero 2012
    ...the trial court's denial of the plaintiff's motion for a new trial. She claims that the rule that we set forth in Varley v. Varley, 180 Conn. 1, 428 A.2d 317 (1980), to determine whether a new trial should be granted on the basis of allegations that the judgment was obtained through fraud—w......
  • Simms v. Seaman
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • 28 Junio 2011
    ...[595 A.2d 1377]. Once outside the marital context, however, the two concepts appear to receive similar treatment. In [ Varley v. Varley, 180 Conn. 1, 428 A.2d 317 (1980) ], the defendant alleged that ‘the trial was tainted by [23 A.3d 6] (a) false testimony; (b) bribery; (c) misconduct of c......
  • Turner v. Comm'r of Corr.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • 3 Noviembre 2020
    ...petitioner's motion to open and set aside the judgment based on his failure to satisfy any of the factors set out in Varley v. Varley , 180 Conn. 1, 4, 428 A.2d 317 (1980), to prove that the judgment was based on fraud.5 [Judge Cobb] also denied the petitioner certification to appeal." (Foo......
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