The principal issue in this certified appeal is whether a bail bondsman, who is a nonparty to the underlying criminal action, may appeal pursuant
The record discloses the following factual and procedural history. The defendant in the underlying criminal case, Ralston Salmon, was arrested and charged with violating General Statutes §§ 21a-279 (a) and (c),
The Appellate Court, acting sua sponte, placed the matter on its calendar on the question of "why the appeal should not be dismissed because review by way of an appeal is not available to a nonparty." After hearing argument on that question, the Appellate Court dismissed the appeal. We granted the bondsman's petition for certification on this issue.
We first must determine the parameters of the "party" requirement of § 52-263. Such a determination is a matter of statutory construction and, therefore, a matter of law over which this court's review is plenary. Wright Bros. Builders, Inc. v. Dowling, 247 Conn. 218, 226, 720 A.2d 235 (1998). "The process of statutory interpretation involves a reasoned search for the intention of the legislature.... In other words, we seek to determine, in a reasoned manner, the meaning of the statutory language as applied to the facts of this case, including the question of whether the language actually does apply. In seeking to determine that meaning, we look to the words of the statute itself, to the legislative history and circumstances surrounding its enactment, to the legislative policy it was designed to implement, and to its relationship to existing legislation and common law principles governing the same general subject matter." (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) United Illuminating Co. v. New Haven, 240 Conn. 422, 431, 692 A.2d 742 (1997).
We begin our analysis by examining the plain language of § 52-263, which provides in relevant part: "Upon the trial of all matters of fact in any cause or action in the Superior Court, whether to the court or jury, or before any judge thereof when the jurisdiction of any action or proceeding is vested in him, if either party is aggrieved by the decision of the court or judge
The relevant language concerning "either party" has remained unchanged since the statute was first enacted in 1929 as Public Acts 1929, c. 301, § 1.
Our prior interpretation in Bergeron is consistent with the usual meaning of the term "party." "Ordinarily, the word `party' has a technical legal meaning, referring `to those by or against whom a legal suit is brought ... the party plaintiff or defendant, whether composed of one or more individuals and whether natural or legal persons.' Black's Law Dictionary, citing Golatte v. Mathews, 394 F. Sup. 1203, 1207 (D.C. Ala. 1975)...." (Citation omitted.) Lieberman v. Reliable Refuse Co., 212 Conn. 661, 669, 563 A.2d 1013 (1989). This definition of party, which we also have labeled "party status in court"; Rose v. Freedom of Information Commission, 221 Conn. 217, 225-26, 602 A.2d 1019 (1992); includes only those who are parties to the underlying action.
The bondsman argues, however, that judicially created exceptions exist whereby an appellant need not establish that he was a party to the underlying action in order to establish subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to § 52-263. As support for this contention, the bondsman, first, relies upon our interpretation of "party" in Day v. Middletown, 245 Conn. 437, 441-42, 716 A.2d 47 (1998), and second, argues that interpreting the party requirement of § 52-263 as limited to parties to the underlying action would conflict in varying degrees with our prior decisions in CFM of Connecticut, Inc. v. Chowdhury, 239 Conn. 375, 685 A.2d 1108 (1996), Lougee v. Grinnell, 216 Conn. 483, 582 A.2d 456 (1990),
The bondsman first contends that, in Day v. Middletown, supra, 245 Conn. 442, we created a standard by which de facto parties satisfy the "party" requirement for appellate review. We disagree that our decision in Day requires us to establish a broader definition of "party" for purposes of § 52-263 than we adopt today. In Day, we interpreted the term "party" in the context
Our adoption of a broader construction of the term "party" that includes de facto parties in the context of appeals from the workers' compensation review board pursuant to § 31-301b does not, however, compel a similar construction of the term "party" in the context of § 52-263. The circumstances surrounding our decision in Day are distinguishable from the present case in three critical respects. First, the plain language of the two statutes differ; whereas § 31-301b permits an appeal to be brought by "any party," § 52-263 explicitly provides that "either party" may seek appellate review if aggrieved. According to Black's Law Dictionary (6th Ed. 1990), although the word "any" can be considered synonymous with "either," "every" or "all," it generally is understood to mean "one out of many; an indefinite number." In contrast, "either" is defined as "each of
Second, Day involved an appeal from the decision of an administrative agency, whereas § 52-263 concerns the appellate review of decisions of the trial court. We previously have concluded that in addition to its ordinary technical legal meaning, the term "party" may have a broader, commonly approved usage signifying "[a] person concerned or having or taking part in any affair, matter, transaction, or proceeding, considered individually, and ... is not restricted to strict meaning of plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Rose v. Freedom of Information Commission, supra, 221 Conn. 227. Accordingly, where appropriate in the context of appeals from the decisions of administrative agencies, we have construed the term "party" more broadly than its ordinary, technical legal meaning.
Third, and perhaps most significantly, a writ of error was not available to the aggrieved law firm in Day, whereas a person in the shoes of the bondsman in the present case would have a right of review by way of a writ of error. A writ of error may be brought to this court pursuant to General Statutes § 52-272 et seq., and Practice Book § 72-1. As we noted in Day v. Middletown, supra, 245 Conn. 442, "a writ of error only may be brought from a final judgment of the superior court...." See also Practice Book § 72-1 (a). As a result, although a writ of error categorically is not available to an appellant such as the de facto party in Day, who would be seeking review of a decision of the workers' compensation review board, it certainly is available to address a perceived error concerning the denial of a bail bondsman's motion for rebate or release in the context of a criminal trial in the Superior Court. For all of these reasons, we disagree with the bondsman that our decision in Day should govern our analysis of § 52-263.
We next address the bondsman's claim that CFM of Connecticut, Inc. v. Chowdhury, supra, 239 Conn. 375, provides authority for the contention that a nonparty to the underlying action has a right of appellate review pursuant to § 52-263. At issue in Chowdhury was whether a sanctions order addressed to the plaintiffs attorney constituted a final judgment for purposes of res judicata such that a subsequent judge would be
The bondsman argues that we must overrule Chowdhury under the construction of the term "party" that we adopt today. This argument is flawed because the defendant in the underlying action in Chowdhury properly had brought the cross appeal pursuant to § 52-263 before the Appellate Court, and, as a result, the plaintiffs attorney was properly before that court as the cross appellee. We entertained the appeal in that
We next address together, Lougee v. Grinnell, supra, 216 Conn. 483, and In re Mongillo, supra, 190 Conn. 686, which the bondsman also asserts are at odds with our interpretation of the term "party." We begin our analysis by reviewing the relevant procedural history of each case. In Lougee v. Grinnell, supra, 484, the appellee was the plaintiff in a Texas action who sought the testimony of the Connecticut appellant, a former employee of the defendant in the Texas action. Because the appellant could not be compelled to testify in Texas on behalf of his former employer, the appellee sought to subpoena the appellant to appear at a deposition in Connecticut. The appellant moved in the Superior Court of this state to quash the subpoena, which motion was denied. The appellant then appealed to the Appellate Court, and we transferred the appeal to this court. Id., 485-86. Before reaching the merits of the appeal, we set out to determine whether the appeal was properly before this court as an appealable final judgment, noting
The appeal in In re Mongillo, supra, 190 Conn. 687-88, was brought by an attorney who the trial court had fined for tardiness, after untimely arriving for the call of the court docket. The attorney represented two defendants whose cases were called prior to his arrival. The attorney appealed the imposition of the fine to the Appellate Session of the Superior Court, which transferred the matter to this court. Id., 489-90. We addressed the merits of the claim without discussing the subject matter jurisdiction of the court to entertain the appeal, concluding that the imposition of the fine constituted an abuse of discretion. Id., 693.
The bondsman contends that these cases compel the conclusion that a nonparty to the underlying action has a right of review pursuant to § 52-263. We disagree. The question of party status pursuant to § 52-263 was never explicitly addressed in either Lougee or In re Mongillo. "It is the general rule that a case resolves only those issues explicitly decided in the case. See Connecticut Light & Power Co. v. Costle, 179 Conn. 415, 416 n.1, 426 A.2d 1324 (1980); State v. DellaCamera, 166 Conn. 557, 561, 353 A.2d 750 (1974); State v. Darwin, 161 Conn. 413, 421-22, 288 A.2d 422 (1971)." State v. Ouellette, 190 Conn. 84,
These principles apply to both Lougee and In re Mongillo, in neither of which did we explicitly address the question of party status prior to addressing the merits of the appeal. Both of these cases were decided before we stated explicitly in Bergeron v. Mackler, supra, 225 Conn. 391-92 n.1, that someone not a party to the underlying action had no right of review pursuant to § 52-263. As a result, they should not be understood to support the proposition that a nonparty to the underlying action is a party for purposes of § 52-263. Thus, properly understood, these cases do not prevent us from concluding that the term "party" is limited to parties to the underlying action for purposes of establishing a right to review pursuant to § 52-263, as we do today.
With the definition of the term "party" established for purposes of § 52-263, we return to the first question posed in our request for supplemental briefs, that is, whether we should adopt a bright-line test requiring the appellant, in order to establish a right of appellate review pursuant to § 52-263, to establish in the following
The bondsman contends that we should not adopt this bright-line test, arguing, first, that the present method of analysis is satisfactory, and second, that if it is to be adopted, the question of final judgment should be addressed first among the three requirements. We are not convinced.
The bondsman's argument that the present method of analysis is satisfactory without the adoption of a bright-line test is unpersuasive because it rests on the incorrect assumption that, under the present system, a nonparty to the underlying action should and would have a right to appeal pursuant to § 52-263 in limited circumstances.
Lastly, we address the question of whether the adoption of the bright-line test for establishing jurisdiction should be prospective only in its application.
"We start our analysis with the observation that [t]he courts of the states are free to determine the extent to which new decisions are to have retrospective effect." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Neyland v. Board of Education, 195 Conn. 174, 179, 487 A.2d 181 (1985). We previously have reviewed the analytical framework adopted by the federal courts for determining the propriety of a retroactive or prospective application of a particular decision. In Neyland v. Board of Education, supra, 179, we noted the United States Supreme Court's construction of a three factor test to determine whether a particular judicial decision should be applied prospectively, which was established in Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97, 106-107, 92 S.Ct. 349, 30 L. Ed. 2d
In the present case, our decision concerns the application of a subject matter jurisdictional statute. Therefore, the Chevron Oil Co. test does not apply. Moreover, the bondsman has not articulated, nor do we perceive, any exceptional circumstances or overriding needs of public policy to exist, such as those at work in Northern Pipeline Construction Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., supra, 458 U.S. 88, that would compel us to apply this jurisdictional decision nonretroactively.
The judgment of the Appellate Court is affirmed.
In this opinion CALLAHAN, C. J., and BORDEN, KATZ and PALMER, Js., concurred.
BERDON, J., with whom MCDONALD, J., joins, dissenting in part and concurring in part. The majority opinion in the present case reminds me of something
According to my colleagues in the majority, their opinion that the appellant is not a party—and, therefore, that it does not have standing to assert an appeal pursuant to General Statutes § 52-263—can be harmonized with our precedents. I disagree.
In the present case, the defendant Ralston Salmon was arrested and charged with narcotic offenses. He was released on a surety bond of $150,000. The appellant, B & B Bail Bonds Agency, Inc., was the surety on the bond. The defendant failed to appear in court, which triggered the forfeiture of the bond. Shortly thereafter, the appellant located the defendant in Jamaica. Because the appellant did not have the authority to bring the defendant before the court, it requested that the state's attorney initiate proceedings to extradite the defendant to Connecticut. The state's attorney refused. Nevertheless, the trial court declined to release the appellant from its obligation as the surety on the defendant's
In order to reach this result, the majority opinion must attempt to distinguish a very recent opinion that attracted the votes of four members of the panel in the present case. This distinction does not hold water. In Day v. Middletown, 245 Conn. 437, 440, 716 A.2d 47 (1998), the court
According to the majority in the present case, "[t]his court concluded [in Day] that the law firm was [a]... de facto party ... because, for purposes of [the] statute [at issue in Day], `[i]n short, a party is a litigant with a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy.' [Day v. Middletown, supra], 440." (Emphasis added.) The majority emphasizes that the law firm in
The majority attempts to rationalize its effort to distinguish Day on the ground that the statute at issue in Day refers to "any party," whereas the statute at issue in the present case refers to "either party." The majority's argument proceeds as follows: "`either' is defined as `each of two; or the other of two alternatives.' [Black's Law Dictionary (6th Ed. 1990)]. The use of the word `either' ... implies a narrower universe of possible appellants than where the term `any' is used; `either party' being limited to those persons or entities that are on one of two sides of a matter before the court, that is, the side of the plaintiff or of the defendant." The only flaw with this argument is that the same lexicon upon which the majority relies states with unmistakable clarity that the word "either" is "[o]ften used
The majority also cites Black's Law Dictionary for the proposition that the "technical legal meaning" of the term "party" is "those by or against whom a legal suit is brought ... the party plaintiff or defendant ...." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) The majority correctly observes that this definition is cited in, inter alia, Rose v. Freedom of Information Commission, supra, 225-26. What the majority neglects to mention, however, is that Rose also contains the following passage: "While `party' has an ordinary, technical usage ... it has a `commonly approved usage' as well.... Where a word in a statute has more than one possible meaning, and one meaning might lead to practical difficulties or constitutional infirmities, we should consider whether the legislature intended to adopt the other meaning. Black's Law Dictionary [also] defines `party' as `[a] person concerned or having or taking part in any affair, matter, transaction or proceeding, considered individually' and further notes that `"party" is not restricted to strict meaning of plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit.' Interpreting `party' in this broad manner avoids any possible encroachment on the due process rights of persons who, although not technically `parties' to the underlying [actions], are nevertheless aggrieved...." (Citation omitted.) Id., 227.
Finally, I wish to emphasize the majority's determination that the appellant is entitled to assert an appeal by way of a writ of error. See footnote 20 of the majority opinion. In my view, it would have been exceedingly unfair (and probably unconstitutional) to change our law as the majority has done today, then preclude the appellant from asserting an appeal that it would have been entitled to assert under the law as it existed at the time that it was aggrieved. For this reason, I join
Accordingly, I dissent in part and concur in part.
"(c) Any person who possesses or has under his control any quantity of any controlled substance other than a narcotic substance, or a hallucinogenic substance other than marijuana or who possesses or has under his control less than four ounces of a cannabis-type substance, except as authorized in this chapter, for a first offense, may be fined not more than one thousand dollars or be imprisoned not more than one year, or be both fined and imprisoned; and for a subsequent offense, may be fined not more than three thousand dollars or be imprisoned not more than five years, or be both fined and imprisoned...."
"(b) Whenever an arrested person, whose bond has been forfeited, is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within one year of the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the surety on such bond shall be entitled to a rebate of that portion of the forfeited amount as may be fixed by the court or as may be established by a schedule adopted by rule of the judges of the court."
"2. Whether the adoption of such a test would require the court to overrule such decisions as Presidential Capital Corp. v. Reale, 240 Conn. 623, 692 A.2d 794 (1997), CFM of Connecticut, Inc. v. Chowdhury, 239 Conn. 375, 685 A.2d 1108 (1996), Lougee v. Grinnell, 216 Conn. 483, 582 A.2d 456 (1990), and In re Mongillo, 190 Conn. 686, 461 A.2d 1387 (1983)?
"3. Whether the adoption of such a test should be prospective only in its application?"
In Presidential Capital Corp. v. Reale, supra, 240 Conn. 626, the appellants, the wife and son of the defendant in the underlying action, filed an appeal from the trial court's denial of their motions for protective orders. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that the trial court had not rendered a final judgment, and we granted certification limited to the following issue: "If, in postjudgment proceedings, a postjudgment creditor seeks to examine nonparties to discover undisclosed assets of its judgment debtor, must an appeal by the nonparties from a trial court order denying their motions for protective orders be dismissed for lack of a final judgment?" Presidential Capital Corp. v. Reale, supra, 627 n.2. We affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court, concluding that under State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 30, 463 A.2d 566 (1983), the trial court's decision did not terminate a separate and distinct proceeding and, therefore, was not a final judgment. Presidential Capital Corp. v. Reale, supra, 633. In affirming the Appellate Court's determination that the lack of final judgment precluded the establishment of subject matter jurisdiction for review pursuant to General Statutes § 52-351b, we did not reach the question of whether the appellants would have been considered parties under § 52-263. Accordingly, the bondsman is correct in noting that the case has no bearing on our analysis here.
Nowhere in Day did we either state or imply that the general rule of law that we discussed in that case was limited to the context of § 31-301b.