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Town of Glastonbury v. Sakon

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

May 2, 2017

TOWN OF GLASTONBURY
v.
JOHN ALAN SAKON ET AL.

          Argued February 8, 2017

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Robaina, J. [motion to strike]; Vacchelli, J. [motion to strike and judgment of nonsuit]

          John Alan Sakon, self-represented, the appellant (named defendant).

          Patrick M. Fahey, with whom, on the brief, were Latonia C. Williams and Eric S. Goldstein, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          Alvord, Prescott and Bear, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM

         The defendant John Alan Sakon appeals from the orders of the trial court striking his special defenses and from the judgment of non suit entered with respect to his counterclaims.[1] On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly granted the plaintiff's motion to strike his original and his substitute special defenses and counterclaims. The appeal is dismissed in part, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part.

         The defendant is the record owner of two properties in Glastonbury. The defendant failed to pay the property taxes on his properties for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. As a result, the plaintiff, the town of Glastonbury, assessed tax liens against the defendant's properties for the unpaid real property taxes (tax liens).

         On November 6, 2012, the plaintiff commenced this action to foreclose on the 2009, 2010, and 2011 tax liens for the defendant's two properties by filing a two count complaint, in which each count pertained to one of the defendant's two properties. On August 27, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for default for failure to plead, which was granted on September 4, 2013. On December 10, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for judgment of foreclosure by sale. On December 18, 2013, the defendant filed his answer to the plaintiff's complaint, which contained six special defenses and seven counterclaims (original special defenses and counterclaims). On January 29, 2014, the defendant filed a motion to open the default, which was granted on February 10, 2014. On March 12, 2014, the plaintiff filed a motion to strike the original special defenses and counterclaims (first motion to strike).

         On August 13, 2014, the plaintiff filed an amended two count complaint, in which it additionally sought to foreclose on the 2012 and 2013 tax liens for the defendant's two properties and clarified its description of the defendant's properties (operative complaint).

         On November 21, 2014, the court, Robaina, J., granted the plaintiff's first motion to strike. On December 10, 2014, the defendant filed a revised motion for reconsideration of the court's order granting the plaintiff's first motion to strike. On December 11, 2014, the defendant filed an amended answer in response to the operative complaint, which contained special defenses and counterclaims that were substantially similar to those raised in his original answer (amended special defenses and counterclaims). On December 24, 2014, the plaintiff filed a motion to strike the defendant's amended special defenses and counterclaims (second motion to strike).

         On December 29, 2014, the court denied the defendant's revised motion for reconsideration of the court's order granting the plaintiff's first motion to strike. On

         January 5 and 6, 2015, and February 4, 2015, the defendant filed motions for extension of time to file a substitute pleading pursuant to Practice Book § 10-44.[2] On February 11, 2015, the defendant filed a substitute answer, in which he raised four special defenses and two counterclaims (substitute special defenses and counterclaims). On March 16, 2015, the court concluded that the second motion to strike was moot because ‘‘[t]he operative substitute special defenses and counterclaims are those filed on February 11, 2015.''

         On March 31, 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion to strike the substitute special defenses and counterclaims (third motion to strike) and a motion for judgment of nonsuit as to the counterclaims. On July 9, 2015, the court, Vacchelli, J., applying the law of the case doctrine, granted the third motion to strike because the substitute special defenses and counterclaims ‘‘all attempt the exact same challenges previously ruled to be legally insufficient'' by the court on November 11, 2014. The court also entered a default against the defendant as to his special defenses and a judgment of nonsuit against the defendant and in favor of the plaintiff with respect to the defendant's counterclaims.

         On July 24, 2015, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment as to liability on both counts of the operative complaint. On July 27, 2015, the defendant filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order granting the plaintiff's third motion to strike, which was denied on August 12, 2015. On September 25, 2015, the defendant filed the present appeal, in which he challenges the orders of the court striking the original and substitute special defenses and counterclaims.[3]

         On January 4, 2016, the court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to liability. On July 13, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion for judgment of ...


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