Appeals court affirms NLDC win in Fort Trumbull environmental case

The state appellate court has upheld a New London judge’s 2011 ruling that the Fort Trumbull Conservancy failed to prove that the New London Development Corp. violated environmental laws during the demolition of Fort Trumbull.

In a decision to be released officially next week, appeals court judges Robert E. Beach Jr., Richard A. Robinson and Ellen A. Peters rejected the conservancy’s appeal of a ruling by New London Judge Joseph Q. Koletsky following a trial in June 2011.

The appeal was the last of 10 lawsuits brought by the private, nonprofit group involving the municipal development plan for Fort Trumbull. Conservancy attorney Scott W. Sawyer could not immediately be reached to comment.

Koletsky had heard testimony from environmental experts and Fort Trumbull activists before ruling that the conservancy had failed to prove that the city and NLDC, now called the Renaissance City Development Association, had harmed the environment with the demolition of dozens of properties in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. Koletsky also found that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that the city is not meeting state recycling goals.

The conservancy claimed in its appeal that the court failed to consider all the relevant evidence, improperly required the conservancy to present persuasive expert evidence and mistakenly required the plaintiff to prove the defendants’ conduct caused any reasonable likelihood of unreasonable harm.

The appeals court ruling said that there was no evidence that the court faulted the conservancy for failing to present more expert testimony or that it required the conservancy to present any expert testimony at all.

“The court simply found, as was its prerogative, that the evidence that the plaintiff did present was unpersuasive,” the appellate court wrote.

The appeals judges also ruled that Koletsky did not abuse his discretion in denying the conservancy’s post-judgment motions to open the judgment for reconsideration.

Attorney Jeffrey T. Londregan, who had defended the city, issued the following statement.

“The City is very happy that the Appellate Court was able to review the record and affirm the trial court’s holding that the plaintiff failed to prove its claims of environmental harm to the statutory standard necessary,” the statement said. “This decision, along with all of the previous challenges brought by this plaintiff that have gone in our favor, is further proof that the City and RCDA followed all the necessary legal steps and requirements in adopting and implementing the Municipal Development Plan.”


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