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Property Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


SC20418 - Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc. (Taxation; statutory interpretation; standard for awarding municipality attorney's fees to recover unpaid taxes under General Statutes § 12-161a; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether General Statutes § 12-161a, which allows trial courts to award a municipality attorney's fees incurred 'as a result of and directly related to' proceedings to collect delinquent personal property taxes, includes attorney's fees incurred in a related federal action regarding the municipality's authority to impose such personal property taxes. The plaintiff, the town of Ledyard, appeals, upon our grant of its petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court and directing summary judgment for the defendant, WMS Gaming, Inc. Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc., 192 Conn. App. 836, 850, 218 A.3d 708 (2019). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly construed § 12-161a in concluding that the defendant's liability for attorney's fees under the statute is limited to the collection proceeding in state court and does not include the related federal court proceeding. See id., 845. We conclude that the ambit of § 12-161a includes a directly related federal action that is determinative of a municipality's authority to pursue the underlying state collection proceeding. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")