NICOLE KENNY v. DAVID E. BANKS, SC 17982
Judicial District of New Britain
Personal Jurisdiction; Uniform Interstate Family Support Act; Minimum Contacts; Whether Connecticut Court had Personal Jurisdiction Over California Defendant; Whether Trial Court Improperly Refused to Allow Plaintiff to Testify as to Facts Purportedly Supporting Jurisdiction. A New York court dissolved the marriage of the parties, awarded the plaintiff sole legal and physical custody of their minor children and ordered the defendant to pay child support (New York orders). The plaintiff subsequently moved to Connecticut and registered the New York orders in this state. On July 6, 2006, the plaintiff filed a motion for contempt on the basis that the defendant had not complied with the child support order. The defendant, who was residing in California, moved to dismiss the motion for contempt on the grounds that the Connecticut court lacked personal jurisdiction over him under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, General Statutes § 46b-212 et seq., and that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over him would violate his due process rights. The trial court agreed and granted the motion to dismiss. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly refused to allow her to testify as to certain matters that would show that the defendant should have contemplated that he could be called into court in Connecticut. She argues that the court had jurisdiction over the defendant under subsections (5) and (7) of General Statutes § 46b-212d, which provide for personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant in a support enforcement proceeding if "the child resides in this state as a result of the acts or directives of the individual" or if "there is any other basis consistent with the Constitutions of this state and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction." Her testimony, she contends, would have shown that the requirements of the statute were satisfied. Specifically, she asserts that she would have testified that the New York orders were the result of a stipulation between the parties and that the defendant consented to the custody and support orders at a time when he knew that she was looking for a residence in Connecticut. She also claims that she would have testified that the defendant visited the children in Connecticut on several occasions. In addition, the plaintiff argues that the defendant consented to a provision in the New York orders under which he submitted to personal jurisdiction for support enforcement proceedings outside of New York if process was served upon him in the manner in which she served the motion for contempt, that is, through his New York counsel by certified mail, return receipt requested. The plaintiff further claims that the defendant waived his claim of lack of personal jurisdiction because, although the motion to dismiss was filed within thirty days of the filing of his formal appearance, it was filed more than thirty days after his counsel first appeared in court on his behalf in order to request a continuance of the matter.