LOIS DEMAYO et al. v. MICHAEL QUINN, SC 19343
Judicial District of New Haven
Quo Warranto; Municipalities; Whether Trial Court Properly Declared Meriden Corporation Counsel Position Vacant; Whether Trial Court Properly Struck Plaintiffs’ Claims for Additional Relief. Manuel A. Santos was sworn in as mayor of the city of Meriden on December 2, 2013. Later that day, the city council approved the defendant's appointment as corporation counsel on the basis of the former mayor's recommendation. The plaintiffs brought this quo warranto action claiming that the manner of the defendant’s appointment violated the city charter and therefore that he should be ordered to vacate the position. They claimed that the defendant's appointment was improper because Mayor Santos did not recommend him for the position. The city charter provides that "[t]he Mayor shall recommend any and all appointments to officers or positions within the appointing power of the City Council . . . for approval" and that "[t]he City Council shall appoint and may remove a Corporation Counsel. . . . " Finding that language to be clear and unambiguous, the court interpreted it as dictating that the appointing power of the city council can be properly exercised only after receiving the recommendation of the mayor who is currently serving in that office. Because the city council acted upon the recommendation of the former mayor, the court concluded that the defendant was not entitled to hold the position of corporation counsel and it declared the position vacant. The court, however, struck the plaintiffs’ claims for attorney’s fees and for an order directing the defendant to refund the city the salary he received during his illegal tenure, finding that such relief was not available in a quo warranto action. The defendant appeals, claiming, among other things, that the trial court should have considered extratextual evidence in construing the city charter. The plaintiffs cross appeal, claiming that the trial court improperly struck their claims for additional relief.