This case came before the trial court, Dean, J., on remand from the Supreme Court in
The Supreme Court in O'Donnell I held that the trial court, Reynolds, J., itself, rather than the administrative body, had weighed the credibility of witnesses and determined issues of fact. It concluded: "There is error, the judgment is set aside and the case remanded for further proceedings in accordance with law." O'Donnell v. Police Commission, supra, 427. Subsequently, the Supreme Court refused the plaintiff's motion for permission to reargue.
The trial court reinstated the original trial court's conclusions except for the findings with respect to the credibility of witnesses. From this judgment, the defendant has appealed.
The sole issue is whether the trial court complied with the terms of the remand.
When carrying out a mandate of the reviewing court, the trial court is limited to the specific direction of the mandate as interpreted in light of the opinion. "`It is the duty of the trial court on remand to comply strictly with the mandate of the appellate court according to its true intent and meaning. No judgment other than that directed or permitted by the reviewing court may be rendered, even though it may be one that the appellate court might have directed. The trial court should examine the mandate and the opinion of the reviewing court and proceed in conformity with the views expressed therein.'"(Emphasis in original.) Wendland v. Ridgefield Construction Services, Inc., 190 Conn. 791, 795, 462 A.2d 1043 (1983).
We will assume arguendo that the colloquy between counsel and the trial court was tantamount to a new trial.
The trial court determined that it was "without power to overrule another Superior Court judge and consequently the ruling of Judge Reynolds except as to his finding of lack of credible evidence to support the Board's action stands." The trial court also determined that the credibility issue was separable from the two issues raised herein, and that while the reversal of the judgment by the Supreme Court annulled it, it did not necessarily set aside the foundation upon which it rested. Such a position does not comport with the requirement of a remand that a new trial be held of
We point out that the court's essential function in an administrative appeal is to review the administrative proceedings to determine whether the action appealed from was legal. That review is normally limited to the record and the court cannot hear evidence. Neri v. Powers, 3 Conn.App. 531, 537, 490 A.2d 528 (1985).
There is error, the judgment is set aside and the case is remanded for further proceedings in accordance with law.
In this opinion the other judges concurred.