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Vossbrinck v. Accredited Home Lenders, Inc.

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Waterbury, Waterbury

May 26, 2016

Karl Paul Vossbrinck
v.
Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. et al Opinion No. 133783

          Judge (with first initial, no space for Sullivan, Dorsey, and Walsh): Taylor, Mark H., J.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE MOTION FOR JUDGMENT

          MARK H. TAYLOR, J.

         The self-represented plaintiff, Karl Paul Vossbrinck, has filed a motion for judgment in this action to quiet title to property in which his equity of redemption has been foreclosed. This motion follows the default of the defendant, Accredited Home Lenders, for failure to appear and the plaintiff's withdrawal of the action against the second defendant, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, As Indenture Trustee, On Behalf of the Holders of the Accredited Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-4 Asset Backed Notes (Deutsche Bank). Although these two parties were identified as two separate defendants, they are styled as one name in the complaint: " Accredited Home Lenders [Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, As Indenture Trustee, On Behalf of the Holders of the Accredited Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-4 Asset Backed Notes, Substituted Plaintiff]."

         This civil action follows the foreclosure of the plain tiff's title to real property located at 487 Berkshire Road, Southbury, which he originally mortgaged to Accredited Home Lenders, Inc., with MERS as its nominee, on or about October 19, 2005. Deutsche Bank is Accredited Home Lenders' successor in title to the mortgage and note. See Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. (Deutsche Bank) v. Vossbrinck, Superior Court, judicial district of Waterbury, Docket No. CV-08-5007144-S. The name of the defendant in the present case is the same as the plaintiff in the prior action to foreclose Vossbrinck's mortgage.

         With the foreclosure as background, the plaintiff filed this related civil action on April 13, 2012, after title had passed to Deutsche Bank, but before the plaintiff was ejected from the property, sometime on or about October 2, 2012. Within two weeks of filing the original complaint in this action, Deutsche Bank petitioned for removal of the case to federal court on April 27, 2012. Upon removal to federal court, the plaintiff amended the complaint to include numerous additional claims, including unjust enrichment, perjury, forgery and predatory lending, as well as violations of state and federal statutes, including the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, the federal Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

         The federal court case was dismissed because, in essence, the case sought to undo a state judgment of foreclosure in violation of the, so called, Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Upon appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the dismissal was vacated in part and the original action was remanded to this court. The remand was filed in the Waterbury judicial district on January 30, 2015. The record of the federal court proceedings is extensive, numbering 1, 010 pages.

         Since the return of this case to the Superior Court docket, the plaintiff has filed approximately five amended complaints, primarily in response to requests to revise and motions to strike filed by the withdrawn and removed defendant, Deutsche Bank. The plaintiff filed the operative amended complaint on January 20, 2016, asserting " fraud, negligent misrepresentation of facts, materially false statements to the Plaintiff and lack of standing to foreclose upon said property, malicious and vindictive action against Plaintiff . . ." Upon these claims, the plaintiff seeks the following remedies: " 1. Clear Quiet Title to said Property unencumbered, with Prejudice. 2. Immediate tender of the property to the Plaintiff. 3. Compensatory money damages as deemed appropriate by the court for the harm suffered by Plaintiff." The limited relief sought in this motion for judgment, however, is that " judgment for possession of the premises be entered for the plaintiff via quiet title with prejudice."

         Soon after the plaintiff filed the operative amended complaint, he filed a second motion to default Accredited Home Lenders on January 25, 2016 for failure to appear, which the court granted on February 1, 2016. The court denied the plaintiff's first motion for default because there was no certification of service to the defendants or supplemental return filed. Order No. 127.10, dated November 27, 2015. Although a copy of the second motion for default was certified to the defendant, the plaintiff did not file a supplemental return, as the court previously required. The default for failure to appear may, therefore, have been improvidently granted on February 1, 2016, as there is no official record or evidence provided of the last known address for Accredited Home Lenders. Soon thereafter, on March 1, 2016, the plaintiff withdrew the action against Deutsche Bank.

         The court is not convinced that judgment should be granted in this case, as presented. There is no evidence showing that the remaining defendant, Accredited Home Lenders, holds title to the real estate located at 487 Berkshire Road, Southbury. To the contrary, the official court record shows that Deutsche Bank was the likely title holder at the time of the foreclosure, because it was substituted by the court, Cronin, J., as the plaintiff in the foreclosure action on February 10, 2010, in place of Accredited Home Lenders.

         Unfortunately, the pleadings and notice of judgment in the foreclosure identify the plaintiff as " Accredited Home Lenders [Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, As Indenture Trustee, On Behalf of the Holders of the Accredited Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-4 Asset Backed Notes, Substituted Plaintiff.]" (Emphasis added.) Although Accredited Home Lenders begins the name of the plaintiff in the foreclosure, Deutsche Bank is clearly identified as the substituted plaintiff in the case. Moreover, only Deutsche Bank has defended this action and, in one of the plaintiff's recent complaints, filed on August 27, 2015, he identifies Deutsche Bank as " [t]he sole defendant" in the case. Complaint dated August 26, 2015, paragraph 2.

         The court will now address the most problematic aspect of this case. The plaintiff seeks to quiet title in his name where there is no apparent legal authority to do so based upon the facts and law presented. In order to bring an action to quiet title, one must have a legal claim to the subject real estate. In the present case, the plaintiff's interest has been extinguished by operation of a foreclosure in which his law day of August 23, 2011 has long passed. " Where a foreclosure decree has become absolute by the passing of the law days, the outstanding rights of redemption have been cut off and the title has become unconditional in the [redeeming encumbrancer] . . . The mortgagor has no remaining title or interest . . ." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Provident Bank v. Lewitt, 84 Conn.App. 204, 210, 852 A.2d 852, cert. denied, 271 Conn. 924, 859 A.2d 580 (2004). Furthermore, the plaintiff has been ejected from the property and has no possessory interest in the land.

         The remedy in an action to quiet title has been clearly and long established by General Statutes § 47-31, as interpreted by our case law. In order to quiet title to real property, a plaintiff may only prevail on the strength of his or her title. Here, the plaintiff's title has been extinguished by operation of law. " The essentials of the complaint [are] statements of the plaintiff's ownership in the land described and of its title thereto . . . The action could be maintained against one in whom the land records disclose any interest, lien, claim or title conflicting with the plaintiff's claim, title or interest. The claim for relief call[s] for a full determination of the rights of the parties in the land. The plaintiff [i]s required not only to allege but to prove that its title was so affected by the claims of the defendants as to justify the litigation. Finally, the plaintiff [is] required to prevail on the strength of its own title and not on the weakness of its adversary's ." (Citations omitted; emphasis added.) Lake Garda Improvement Ass'n v. Battistoni, 155 Conn. 287, 293, 231 A.2d 276, 280 (1967).

         Essentially, the plaintiff seeks the return of title to real property he once held as a mortgagor, in which his right to redeem has been foreclosed and from which he has been ejected. There is no legal authority to support the remedy ...


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