Officially released June 2, 2020.
In Short: (1) the trial court has broad discretion in controlling its docket and deciding when motions are to be heard; (2) the trial court has broad discretion in distributing property; (3) if you do not offer an exhibit you cannot complain about its exclusion.
This dissolution of marriage action was tried over two days. Plaintiff Husband represented himself during trial. The memorandum of decision addressed eleven outstanding pretrial motions.
Plaintiff Husband appealed the judgment dissolving marriage. On appeal, his claims were boiled down to (1) that exhibits were improperly declined from admission into evidence, (2) that pretrial motions were not addressed in a timely manner, and (3) that marital property was inequitably distributed with regard to bank accounts, real estate and jewelry.
The trial court had ruled on a motion in limine, that, due to Husband’s failure to abide by the trial management orders, it would consider his exhibits on a case by case basis. Four were accepted into evidence. Husband failed to adequately preserve a record for review as to any that were excluded as the transcript did not reveal any of his allegedly excluded exhibits having been marked for identification.
The Appellate Court reviewed management of the docket under the abuse of discretion standard. The Appellate Court found no harm to Husband in the timing of his motions being heard and no abuse of discretion.
The Appellate Court reviewed the claim of inequitable distribution under the abuse of discretion standard. No abuse of discretion was found.
The Judgment was affirmed.