MARY BERZINS v. DAVID BERZINS, SC 18708
Judicial District of Tolland
Dissolution of Marriage; Attorney's Fees; Whether Trial Court Properly Ordered Party to pay Attorney's Fees Because of Egregious Litigation Conduct. In this post-dissolution matter, the administrator of the defendant’s estate, who was substituted as the defendant, filed a motion to enforce the parties' post-judgment agreement concerning the retrieval of personal property at the marital home. Before that motion was acted on, the administrator filed, over the course of several months, numerous other motions. The plaintiff moved for sanctions and attorney's fees. The trial court stated that the administrator “ha[d] filed numerous and often duplicative motions aimed at recovering personal property awarded to and in the possession of the plaintiff” and that the plaintiff argued convincingly that she had spent enormous amounts of money in attorney’s fees defending the motions that it found to be frivolous. The court granted the motion, ordering the administrator to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees of $12,584. The court specifically granted the motion pursuant to Ramin v. Ramin, 281 Conn. 324 (2007), which permits an award of attorney’s fees where a party has engaged in egregious litigation misconduct that requires the other party to spend significant amounts of money for attorney’s fees. The administrator appealed to the Appellate Court (122 Conn. App. 674), which affirmed the decision of the trial court. The Appellate Court determined that the record supported the trial court’s findings and that the court reasonably could have concluded that the administrator engaged in egregious litigation misconduct. The Supreme Court has granted certification on the question of whether the Appellate Court properly affirmed the trial court's decision to order the administrator to pay the plaintiff's attorney's fees pursuant to Ramin v. Ramin.