White v. Town of Portland

Decision Date07 April 1893
Citation63 Coon. 18,26 A. 342
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court

Appeal from superior court, Middlesex county.

Proceeding by Josiah J. White and wife against the town of Portland. Judgment for defendant. Plaintiffs appealed. Pending the appeal the wife died. Affirmed.

F. H. Russell and E. A. Smith, for appellants.

C. J. Cole and J. M. Murdock, for appellee.

CARPENTER, J. Appeal from the doings of the board of relief, in refusing to reduce the tax list of the appellants for the year 1889. The superior court rendered judgment for the town March 2, 1892. The appellants appealed to this court.

The first reason of appeal is that the court erred in ordering the trial to proceed in the absence of Josiah J. White. The facts relating to that matter are these: Josiah J. White is the surviving appellant; his wife, Eliza T. White, who owned the property assessed, having died ) ending the appeal. Her husband, as administrator, entered to prosecute the appeal. The case having been reached for trial, counsel for the appellants moved for a continuance on the ground that said White was ill, and unable to attend court. The motion was supported by the certificate of a physician, purporting to have been sworn to before a notary public in Brooklyn, N. Y. The court declined to continue the case, and ordered the trial to proceed. The reasons for this action are given as follows: "The court, from the statements of counsel and facts before it, did not believe that said White was in fact prevented by physical disability from attendance in court, but did believe, as charged by counsel for the appellee, that he was able to be present, and that the motion for a continuance was made for purposes of delay only. This belief was subsequently confirmed by information which afterwards came to him, that said White was, during the very time when he claimed to be physically unable to leave his home in Brooklyn, present in Hartford, actively engaged in business affairs, and apparently in the enjoyment of full health. The court furthermore did not believe that the presence of said White in court was necessary to a fair trial of the cause. The court was further of the opinion that the interests of justice required that the trial should proceed. For these reasons, and in view of the offer made by counsel for the appellee to counsel for appellants, that any written statement or statements as to the facts of the case which said White might in any form make, whether the same was sworn to or not, and whether made upon notice to or in the presence of counsel for the appellee or not, might be received by the court as the evidence of said White, the court, in the exercise of its discretion, denied said motion for a continuance, and ordered the trial to proceed." In relation to this matter, it is enough to say that it is a matter of discretion, which we cannot with propriety review. If more was needed, we should say, unhesitatingly, that we think the discretion of the court was wisely exercised.

The second error assigned is that the court erred in excluding the evidence as to the amount of the assessments and value of the property of the quarry companies. On the trial, counsel for the appellants offered in evidence the assessment lists for the year 1889, of three corporations, all extensively engaged in quarrying and marketing brownstone, and located and doing business, and taxable, in said Portland, and inquired of a witness as to the value on October 1, 1889, of the property of said companies. The appellee objected to the introduction of this evidence. The appellants claimed it for the purpose of showing that the property of said companies was assessed at a lower rate of valuation than the property of the appellants, and that the property of the appellants was assessed at a higher rate than the property of the town, taken together. In the lists so offered the property of each of said companies was entered in a single gross sum. "From the statements of counsel, it appeared that the taxable property of these companies comprised a great quantity and variety of property, both real and personal, consisting of quarry lands worked, in process of working, and held for future developments; lands near the quarries, whose value for quarrying was more or less problematical; other lands, situated in various parts of the town, and used for dumping purposes; tenement houses; engines, machinery, and quarrying apparatus; live stock, carts, cars, and a large variety of personal property used for quarrying, cartage, transportation, and otherwise; book accounts, etc. From said lists it did not appear of what items these gross assessments were made up, or what valuation was given to any one of the different kinds, or to any one of the several pieces of property for which said companies were assessed; and it was not claimed that any separation of said gross assessments so as to disclose, even approximately, the valuation fixed by the town authorities for any kind or piece of property, could be in any way arrived at or shown. Counsel for the appellants did not claim that any of the property of either of said companies was adjacent to, or in the neighborhood of, any of the property of the appellants, concerning whose assessment question was made, or that it was similar to, or substantially of the same value of, any of the appellants' said taxable estate, excepting that it was claimed by them that included in the estate of said corporations, taxable in said town, were some tenement houses of the same general character as some of those assessed to the appellants. Counsel for the appellee objected to the introduction of said testimony under the complaint, and the same was excluded." There are two possible ways in which a taxpayer may be aggrieved, and a grievance in either way may entitle him to relief: The first is a valuation of the property in...

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11 cases
  • Lerner Shops of Conn., Inc. v. Town of Waterbury
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 25 July 1963
    ...his property was bearing a disproportionately high tax burden because of the defendant's failure to comply with § 12-64. White v. Portland, 63 Conn. 18, 21, 26 A. 342; Sibley v. Middlefield, 143 Conn. 100, 105, 120 A.2d 77; see also Greenwoods Co. v. New Hartford, 65 Conn. 461, 463, 32 A. 9......
  • O'Brien v. Board of Tax Review
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 15 July 1975
    ...relief in a proceeding such as this on the ground that the property of other taxpayers is assessed at too low a rate. White v. Portland, 63 Conn. 18, 22, 26 A. 342. Evidence of disproportionate assessments of other properties, however, may be considered in an action such as this in relation......
  • Connecticut Union of Tel. Workers, Inc. v. Southern New England Tel. Co.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 21 March 1961
    ...152 A. 306; Nichols v. New Britain, 77 Conn. 695, 698, 60 A. 655; Wheeler v. Thomas, 67 Conn. 577, 579, 35 A. 499; White v. Town of Portland, 63 Conn. 18, 25, 26 A. 342. It was proper for the company to show that the position taken by the union during the negotiations leading up to the cont......
  • State v. Henry
    • United States
    • Court of General Sessions of Delaware
    • 31 May 1918
    ... ... 556; ... State v. Pankey, 104 N.C. 840, 10 S.E. 315; ... People v. Diaz, 6 Cal. 248; White v ... Town, of Portland, 63 Conn. 18, 26 A. 342; ... Vickers v. Hill, 2 Ill. (1 Scam.) ... 307; ... ...
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