Judicial District of New Britain


      Probate Appeals; De Novo Review; Whether Appellate Court Properly Concluded that General Statutes § 45a-186a did not Apply to Plaintiff’s Appeal and that Plaintiff was thus Entitled to a Trial de Novo. The plaintiff appealed to the Superior Court from a Probate Court order approving the final accounting of her mother's conservator and denying her request to transfer her mother to a different health care facility.  The plaintiff claimed she was entitled to a trial de novo pursuant to General Statutes § 45a-186, the statute governing appeals from probate.  Section 45a-186 (a), however, provides in relevant part that "[a]ppeals from any decision rendered in any case after a recording is made of the proceedings under section 17a-498, 17a-685, 45a-650, 51-72 or 51-73 shall be on the record and shall not be a trial de novo.”  The trial court rejected the plaintiff's argument that she was entitled to a trial de novo, finding that, as the Probate Court proceedings were recorded and could be transcribed for the court's review, the appeal would be "confined to the record" pursuant to subsection (c) of General Statutes § 45a-186a, the statute governing appeals from probate after a hearing on the record.  Following the trial court's denial of her appeal, the plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Court (124 Conn. App. 371), challenging the denial of her request for a trial de novo.  The Appellate Court reversed, finding that the plaintiff was entitled to a trial de novo because the probate proceeding here was initiated pursuant to General Statutes §§ 45a-175 and 45a-656 and did not implicate any of the statutes listed in § 45a-186 (a) placing restrictions on de novo trials.  The court noted that, while the Probate Court proceedings were tape-recorded, the recording did not comply with the stenographic record requirements of §§ 51-72 or 51-73.  The Supreme Court will now decide whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that § 45a-186a did not apply to the plaintiff’s appeal from the Probate Court and therefore that the plaintiff was entitled to a trial de novo.