Connecticut Title Insurance Company Dismisses Lawsuit Against City & Town Clerks
In an uncommon move, the Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company (CATIC) voluntarily dismissed its controversial lawsuit against all Vermont cities and towns and their respective clerks, including the City of South Burlington and its City Clerk, Donna Kinville. The surprising dismissal with prejudice occurred midway through a live steamed January 28, 2021 merits hearing in the Civil Division of the Vermont Superior Court. In parting remarks, Judge Samuel Hoar acknowledged the issues presented by the lawsuit and challenges COVID has caused for many institutions, including the Vermont Court system, in maintaining public services in as safe a manner as possible. In an e-mail sent to all defendants shortly following the hearing, CATIC representative and Manager of the Vermont Attorneys Title Corporation, Andy Mikell, was apologetic for the personal toll this lawsuit may have caused the various City and Town Clerks acting in their official capacities: “[F]rom my heart, please know that I did not intend for anything to be personal.” Mikell also expressed a desire to continue this discussion on access to land records in other forums, “to match the pace of business and commerce in the 21st Century.”
The original complaint alleged that COVID-19 restrictions such as: reduced hours of operation; reduced hours to conduct searches; reduced access to physical portions of the clerk’s office including the vault where records and indexes are stored, has had adverse effects on CATIC’s ability to perform research in a timely fashion.
Consistent with its practice over the spring and summer, the South Burlington City Clerk’s office remains open to title researchers by appointment from 9-12 and 1-4 daily. The Clerk’s office staff has also made remote research options available by submitting inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.