COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS SERVICING L.P.
ALYSSA PETERSON ET AL.
November 29, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Middlesex,
Domnarski, J. [judgment]; C. Taylor, J. [motion to open;
motion to reargue])
S. Peterson, self-represented, the appellant (named
Christopher J. Picard, for the appellee (substitute
Keller, Prescott and West, Js.
named defendant, Alyssa Peterson,  who represented herself
before the trial court and continues to do so on appeal,
challenges the judgment of the court (1) denying her motion
to open the court's judgment of strict foreclosure, and
(2) denying her motion to reargue the motion to open. The
defendant's principal claim, and the only one we need
address at length,  is that the court improperly declined to
open the judgment of strict foreclosure in order to correct
an erroneous determination of the debt owed by the defendant.
We affirm the judgment of the court.
operative facts underlying this appeal are as follows. On
April 21, 2009, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing L.P.
(Countrywide) commenced this action seeking foreclosure of a
mortgage on property owned by the defendant in Middletown
(property). On May 26, 2010, the court granted
Countrywide's motion for summary judgment as to liability
only. Countrywide subsequently merged with another entity,
which thereafter assigned the mortgage and note to the
substituted plaintiff, Green Tree Servicing LLC (plaintiff).
On December 22, 2014, the court rendered a judgment of strict
foreclosure, finding a debt of $350, 051.71 plus costs and
fees, and setting the commencement of the law days for
January 26, 2015. On January 26, 2015, the defendant moved to
open the judgment, arguing, inter alia, that the trial court
should recalculate the debt to reflect the fact that there
was a private mortgage insurance policy on the property.
The court, without stating its reasons, denied the motion on
the same day. On February 17, 2015, the defendant filed a
motion to reargue the motion to open. The court denied that
motion on February 19, 2015, again without providing its
reasoning. The defendant appealed from the denial of both
motions on March 11, 2015.
preliminary matter, we clarify the procedural posture of this
appeal. As previously mentioned, on January 26, 2015, when
the law days were set to commence, the defendant filed her
motion to open, which the court denied on the same day. The
denial of the motion to open was an appealable final
judgment; see TD Banknorth, N.A. v. White Water Mountain
Resorts of Connecticut, Inc., 133 Conn.App. 536, 542
n.7, 37 A.3d 766 (2012); from which an automatic twenty day
stay arose. See Practice Book §§ 61-11 (a) and 63-1
(a). The defendant filed her motion to reargue on the final
day of the twenty day appeal period; see Practice Book §
63-1 (c); thereby giving rise to a new twenty day appeal
period commencing upon the denial of the motion to reargue
and extending the existing appellate stay. See Gibbs v.
Spinner, 103 Conn.App. 502, 506 n.4, 930 A.2d 53 (2007).
On the final day of the new appeal period, the defendant
appealed from the denial of both motions to this court. The
defendant's claims as to the motion to open and her
motion to reargue are therefore properly before this court.
The defendant cannot, however, challenge the merits of the
December 22, 2014 judgment of strict foreclosure in this
appeal because she filed the motion to open on January 26,
2015-more than twenty days after the court rendered the
judgment of strict foreclosure. See Alix v. Leech,
45 Conn.App. 1, 3-4, 692 A.2d 1309, 1311 (1997).
proceeding to our analysis of the defendant's claim, we
address the plaintiff's argument that this court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal on mootness and
ripeness grounds. As to mootness, the plaintiff's
reasoning proceeds as follows: the defendant did not place
her motion to open on the short calendar pursuant to Practice
Book § 11-13 (a); therefore, the trial court was without
authority to hear the motion; hence the law day has passed
and title has vested in the plaintiff, meaning that this
court cannot afford the defendant any practical relief. We
Book § 11-13 (a) provides in relevant part:
‘‘Unless otherwise provided in these rules or
ordered by the judicial authority . . . all motions and
objections to requests when practicable . . . must be placed
on the short calendar list. No motions will be heard which
are not on said list and ought to have been placed thereon;
provided that any motion in a case on trial, or assigned for
trial, may be disposed of by the judicial authority at its
discretion, or ordered upon the short calendar list on terms,
or otherwise.'' Thus, § 11-13 (a)
‘‘allows for the expeditious, alternative,
discretionary hearing of motions. The court need not place a
motion on a short calendar list if to do so would delay the
proceedings.'' Udolf v. West Hartford Spirit
Shop, Inc., 20 Conn.App. 733, 736, 570 A.2d 240 (1990).
The court's ruling on the defendant's motion to open
was, impliedly, a determination that calendaring the matter
would unnecessarily delay the proceeding, and therefore was
not improper. The plaintiff's reliance on
Fattibene v. Kealey, 18 Conn.App. 344, 558 A.2d 677
(1989), is misplaced. In Fattibene, the
defendant's motion to impose sanctions of attorney's
fees was granted by the trial court before the plaintiff
could file an objection and despite never having been placed
on the short calendar. Id., 352-53. In the present case,
however, the plaintiff suffered no such harm because the
defendant's motion to open was summarily denied. The
defendant's motion to open, therefore, was not required
to be placed on the short calendar. Accordingly, the
defendant's appeal is not moot.
we conclude that, as the plaintiff contends, the appeal is
unripe. ‘‘[T]he rationale behind the ripeness
requirement is to prevent the courts, through avoidance of
premature adjudication, from entangling themselves in
abstract disagreements . . . [and we therefore] must be
satisfied that the case before [us] does not present a
hypothetical injury or a claim contingent upon some event
that has not and indeed may never transpire.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Office of the
Governor v. Select Committee of Inquiry, 271 Conn. 540,
570, 858 A.2d 709 (2004). The plaintiff argues that this
appeal should be dismissed on ripeness grounds because the
defendant's claim involves the proper calculation of the
amount of the deficiency, and the court has yet to render a
deficiency judgment. See General Statutes § 49-14. The
plaintiff continues: ‘‘[The defendant] sets forth
in her brief that the primary concern was the determination
of any deficiency balance due to . . . her chapter 13
bankruptcy plan.'' We disagree because we decline to
read the defendant's claim so narrowly. Whether her
ultimate aim is to have the deficiency judgment, if and when
rendered, reduced to reflect the fact that the
plaintiff's loss has been partially satisfied from the
proceeds of a private mortgage insurance policy on the
property, the defendant is at this stage merely seeking
recalculation of the debt that the court found in its
judgment of strict foreclosure. Because the amount of the
debt has already been determined by the trial court, our
consideration of this issue is not premature even though a
deficiency judgment has not been formally
rendered. Accordingly, the defendant's appeal is
ripe for adjudication.
turn to the defendant's principal claim. She argues that
the court should have opened the judgment of strict
foreclosure in order to recalculate the debt to reflect that
(1) the plaintiff had collected, or will collect, a portion
of the outstanding debt under a private mortgage insurance
policyon the property; and (2) the defendant, for a period of
time, paid premiums on the policy. The defendant asserts that
she paid premiums on the policy before declaring chapter 13
bankruptcy, and that the plaintiff paid, and may be
continuing to pay, the premiums after the bankruptcy.
following legal principles guide our analysis.
‘‘Any judgment foreclosing the title to real
estate by strict foreclosure may, at the discretion of the
court rendering the judgment, upon the written motion of any
person having an interest in the judgment and for cause
shown, be opened and modified, notwithstanding the limitation
imposed by section 52-212a, upon such terms as to costs as
the court deems reasonable, provided no such judgment shall
be opened after the title has ...