Worth v. Picard

Decision Date04 April 2023
Docket NumberAC 45090
CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut

Argued February 2, 2023

Procedural History

Action to recover damages for, inter alia, the defendants' alleged negligence, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Water-bury, where the court, Roraback, J., granted the named defendant's motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Appeal dismissed.

Keyin Worth, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

Victoria L. Forcella, for the appellee (named defendant).

Alvord, Prescott and Suarez, Js.



The plaintiff, Keyin Worth,[1] brought the underlying civil action against the defendant Christopher Picard.[2] The plaintiff appeals from the judgment rendered in the defendant's favor after the court granted his motion for summary judgment.[3] The plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded as a matter of law that, pursuant to the litigation privilege, the plaintiffs claims were barred by absolute immunity. We dismiss the appeal as moot.

The record reflects the following procedural history. In her amended complaint, the plaintiff alleged claims against the defendant sounding in negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, housing discrimination in violation of General Statutes § 46a-64c, unlawful entry and detainer in violation of General Statutes § 47a-43, conversion and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, codified in General Statutes § 42-110a et seq.[4] The plaintiffs claims were related to events that allegedly occurred on March 27, 2018, when state marshals enforced a summary process execution for possession of real property in which the plaintiff was residing, thereby ejecting her from the residence and removing and placing into storage her personal property from the residence. In broad terms, the plaintiffs claims were related to her belief that the defendant, who was the attorney for the mortgagee who obtained the summary process execution following a judgment of strict foreclosure of the subject property, engaged in impropriety with respect to the eviction and the removal of her personal property from the residence.[5] Thereafter, the defendant denied liability and raised eleven special defenses. With respect to each special defense, the plaintiff left the defendant to his proof.

On January 4, 2021, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment accompanied by a memorandum of law and exhibits. In his memorandum of law, the defendant argued that, with respect to each cause of action directed at him, the plaintiff was unable to demonstrate that a genuine issue of material fact existed, and that he was entitled as a matter of law to judgment in his favor. Alternatively, the defendant argued that he was entitled to judgment in his favor because he was immune from suit pursuant to the litigation privilege as elucidated in Scholz v. Epstein, 198 Conn.App. 197, 232 A.3d 1155 (2020), aff'd, 341 Conn. 1, 266 A.3d 127 (2021). On March 22, 2021, the plaintiff filed an objection to the defendant's motion for summary judgment and exhibits. On May 17, 2021, the court, Roraback, J., held a hearing on the motion.

On September 13, 2021, the court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment. The court concluded, on the basis of the facts before it that were not disputed by the plaintiffs submissions in opposition to the motion for summary judgment, that the plaintiffs claims were barred by absolute immunity arising from the litigation privilege. The court thereafter stated that, "[e]ven if this court were to conclude that the immunity granted by the litigation privilege did not attach to one or more counts directed against the moving defendant, he would still be entitled to summary judgment in his favor on all counts. This is because the plaintiff has failed to adduce any competent admissible evidence that would create an issue of fact as to whether [the defendant] has ever been to the home from which she was removed or been in possession of any of her property." This appeal followed.

In the plaintiff's principal appellate brief, she challenges the court's judgment in favor of the defendant on the grounds that the court improperly relied on Scholz v. Epstein, supra, 198 Conn. 197, and concluded that the litigation privilege applied. The plaintiff, however, does not challenge one of the independent grounds on which the judgment was based, namely, that, even in the absence of the litigation privilege, the defendant was entitled to judgment in his favor with respect to every count directed at him.

Because the plaintiff does not challenge every independent basis on which the court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment, we consider whether the present appeal is moot.[6] "Mootness is a question of justiciability that must be determined as a threshold matter because it implicates [this] court's subject matter jurisdiction .... A determination regarding . . . [this court's] subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law . . . [and, therefore] our review is plenary. . . . [I]t is not the province of appellate courts to decide moot questions, disconnected from the granting of actual relief or from the determination of which no practical relief can follow. ... In determining mootness, the dispositive question is whether a successful appeal would benefit the plaintiff or defendant in any way. . . .

"Where an appellant fails to challenge all bases for a trial court's adverse ruling on [her] claim, even if this court were to agree with the appellant on the issues that [she] does raise, we still would not be able to provide [her] any relief in light of the binding adverse finding[s] [not raised] with respect to those claims. . . . Therefore, when an appellant challenges a trial court's adverse ruling, but does not challenge all independent bases for that ruling, the appeal is moot." (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Bongiorno v. J &G Realty, LLC, 211 Conn.App. 311, 322, 272 A.3d 700 (2022). In the present appeal, even if we were to agree with the plaintiff that the court improperly concluded that the litigation privilege applied, we would be unable to afford her any practical relief in connection with that claim in light of the court's conclusion that, even if the litigation privilege did not apply, on the basis of the undisputed facts, the defendant was entitled as a matter of law to judgment in his favor. Having concluded that the claim is moot, we must dismiss the appeal. See, e.g., Wendy V. v. Santiago, 319 Conn. 540, 548, 125 A.3d 983 (2015) (after concluding that claim is moot, proper remedy is to dismiss appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction).

The appeal is dismissed.


[1] The plaintiff was a self-represented litigant during the proceedings before the trial court and appears in a self-represented capacity in this appeal.

[2] In this appeal, we refer...

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