Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Connecticut National Mortgage Co. v. Knudsen

Supreme Court of Connecticut

December 13, 2016

CONNECTICUT NATIONAL MORTGAGE COMPANY
v.
LISE-LOTTE KNUDSEN ET AL.

          Argued November 16, 2016

          Lise-Lotte Knudsen, self-represented, the appellant (named defendant).

          Benjamin T. Staskiewicz, for the appellee (plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.).

          Eveleigh, McDonald, Espinosa, Robinson and Lavine, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The original plaintiff, Connecticut National Mortgage Company, commenced this action in 1989 seeking to foreclose a mortgage on a parcel of real property that is owned by the named defendant, Lise-Lotte Knudsen, and is located in the town of Red-ding.[1] Although the trial court had rendered a judgment of foreclosure in 1994, that judgment has been opened and modified several times over the years. Eventually, on August 20, 2012, the plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., was substituted as the plaintiff.[2] On June 8, 2015, the trial court rendered anew judgment of strict foreclosure that extended the defendant's law day to August 4, 2015. On June 17, 2015, the defendant filed a motion for permission to file a motion to vacate the new judgment, which was denied on June 18, 2015. The defendant appealed to the Appellate Court on June 26, 2015, within the twenty day appeal periods[3] triggered by both the new judgment and the denial of the defendant's subsequent motion.[4]

         The Appellate Court, acting on its own motion, then ordered the parties to appear ‘‘and give reasons, if any, why [the] appeal should not be dismissed as moot because title vested in the plaintiff by the passing of the law days and the defendant's appeal following the denial of her [motion] on June 18, 2015, did not stay the passing of the law days. See . . . Practice Book § 61-11 (g).''[5] (Citations omitted.)

         Practice Book § 61-11 (g)[6] became effective on October 1, 2013. That provision was enacted to put a stop to the ‘‘ ‘perpetual motion machine' ''[7] and accompanying appellate litigation generated when a defendant files serial motions to open a judgment of strict foreclosure and, each time a motion to open is denied, files a new appeal from the judgment denying the motion to open.[8]Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. v. Christiansen, 163 Conn.App. 635, 639, 137 A.3d 76 (2016). When no automatic appellate stay is in effect, there is nothing to prevent the law days from passing, rendering a pending appeal from a judgment of strict foreclosure moot. Argent Mortgage Co., LLC v. Huertas, 288 Conn. 568, 574-75, 953 A.2d 868 (2008).

         It is undisputed that the defendant's June 17, 2015 motion was a ‘‘subsequent contested motion'' as contemplated by § 61-11 (g), and that it was unaccompanied by an affidavit of good cause. The Appellate Court dismissed the defendant's appeal on January 13, 2016, [9]apparently determining that, because no automatic appellate stay was triggered on the denial of that motion, no appellate stay prevented the law day from passing on August 4, 2015, such that title had vested irrevocably in the plaintiff and the defendant's appeal was therefore moot.

         The plaintiff sought reconsideration of the judgment of dismissal. The Appellate Court dismissed the motion for reconsideration on January 29, 2016. On March 9, 2016, we granted the defendant's petition for certification based on the following question: ‘‘Did the Appellate Court properly dismiss the appeal in this matter as moot?'' Connecticut National Mortgage Co. v. Knudsen, 320 Conn. 926, 926-27, 133 A.3d 458 (2016).

         In the present case, the trial court granted the defendant's motion to open the judgment on June 8, 2015, and extended the law day to August 4, 2015. On June 26, 2015, the defendant filed an appeal to the Appellate Court, which was within twenty days of the trial court's June 8, 2015 decision. The defendant's appeal was filed prior to the law day and title never passed to the plaintiff. Moreover, the defendant's appeal was timely because it was filed within the applicable twenty day appeal period. See Practice Book § 63-1 (a). The Appellate Court apparently characterized this appeal as one taken from the judgment denying the defendant's June 17, 2015 motion which, pursuant to Practice Book § 61-11 (g), did not give rise to an automatic stay. However, this appeal was filed within the twenty day appeal period for both the order denying the defendant's June 17, 2015 motion and the June 8, 2015 judgment that set a new law date. The June 8, 2015 judgment triggered an automatic stay because it was an appealable final judgment, and the defendant's filing of this appeal within twenty days of that judgment continued the stay ‘‘until the final determination of [this appeal].'' Practice Book § 61-11 (a).[10]

         Both parties have argued that the Appellate Court's order of dismissal should be reversed and that the case should be remanded to that court for further proceedings. We agree. An ‘‘automatic'' appellate stay of proceedings to enforce the judgment went into effect on June 8, 2015, when the trial court rendered a new judgment of strict foreclosure setting a law date of August 4, 2015. See Practice Book § 61-11 (a). Because the defendant appealed within twenty days of that judgment, the automatic stay was in effect on August 4, 2015, and will continue in effect until the ‘‘final determination of the [appeal].'' Practice Book § 61-11 (a). Since the appellate stay prevented title from vesting in the plaintiff by operation of law when the defendant failed to exercise her right of redemption on August 4, 2015, the case should not have been dismissed by the Appellate Court as moot.

         The judgment of the Appellate Court is reversed and the case is remanded to that court for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.