Gardner v. Pilato

In Gardner v. Pilato, 44 Conn. App. 724, 692 A.2d 843, cert. denied, 241 Conn. 922, 696 A.2d 1265 (1997), the trial court dismissed with prejudice the plaintiff's action to recover payment for services rendered after the parties had failed to attend a pretrial conference. In that case, we were presented with the question of whether "a trial court, on its own motion, has the power to open a judgment of dismissal more than four months after the judgment was rendered when it is clear that the judgment was originally rendered because of an administrative mistake and a timely motion to open had previously been made and denied." Id., at 725. The Court noted that Pilato was "not the usual case"; id.; because it previously had been tried to its conclusion. As a result, a dismissal based on the plaintiff's failure to attend a pretrial conference was an obviously improper outcome. We held that the court had continuing jurisdiction because it "retained jurisdiction to open the judgment and to correct an injustice." Id., at 727.