• Assessor’s Error Correction Authority Limited
  • April 16, 2015 | Author: Gregory F. Servodidio
  • Law Firm: Pullman & Comley, LLC - Hartford Office
  • An assessor has the right to retroactively reassess a land parcel to correct an error but can she do so when her error was discretionary?

    The scope of assessors’ error correction rights occasionally is a matter for contention with property owners, especially when an assessor rolls back the clock three years to increase a value.

    The Stonington assessor’s affidavit filed in a Superior Court case stated that after certain litigation between the property owner and the town had concluded, she “became aware of the fact that the assessor’s card for (the first parcel) had included a storage building along with two dealership buildings. She subsequently learned that the storage building was not located on (the first parcel) and was in fact located on [the second parcel].”

    The right to correct an error must be strictly construed, Superior Court Judge Emmet L. Cosgrove held. Despite the assessor’s claim that she did not act intentionally, her own explanation evidences her judgment that the storage building was (on the first parcel) and negates the town’s claim that a clerical error occurred.

    A clerical error is not an error of substance, as was the case here, the Court ruled.

    To clarify his decision, Judge Cosgrove referred to a 1985 Supreme Court opinion in which it was decided that “an error is of a deliberate nature (when) the party making it at the time actually intended the result that occurred . . . .” Judgment errors, the Superior Court ruled, “cannot be said to be clerical.”

    The owner’s appeal was sustained.

    JBRV, LLC vs. Town of Stonington, Superior Court in New London Docket No. CV-12-6013585 (January 31, 2014).