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Valley National Bank v. Marcano

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

June 27, 2017

VALLEY NATIONAL BANK
v.
STEVEN MARCANO

          Argued February 16, 2017

         (Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of New Britain, Swienton, J.)

          David L. Gussak, for the appellant (defendant).

          Miguel A. Almodo´var, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Harper, Js.

          OPINION

          HARPER, J.

         The defendant, Steven Marcano, appeals from the judgment rendered against him, after a court trial, for breach of his obligation under a personal guarantee of a $250, 000 line of credit extended to My Little Star Baby Products, Inc. (My Little Star), by the plaintiff, Valley National Bank, as successor in interest to Park Avenue Bank (Valley National). The defendant challenges the trial court's findings that (1) Valley National established a proper chain of title regarding its ownership of the promissory note originally executed and personally guaranteed by the defendant to Park Avenue Bank (Park Avenue), thereby giving Valley National standing to bring an action on the guarantee of payment of that note and (2) Valley National submitted sufficient evidence to accurately establish the loan balance it claimed was owed by the defendant.[1] We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         In its September 17, 2015 memorandum of decision, the court found the following facts. ‘‘The defendant was one of the founders of the entity known as [My Little Star], and was the president of the company when it applied for a business line of credit with [Park Avenue] in New York. The loan application was approved, and [the defendant] executed the business loan agreement, commercial security agreement, corporate resolution authorizing the borrowing, as well as the promissory note and [personal] guarantee. . . . The promissory note which secured the line of credit had a maturity date of May 27, 2009, when all sums drawn upon the line of credit along with interest were to be paid in full without demand.

         ‘‘The personal guarantee signed by the defendant secured My Little Star's obligation to [Park Avenue]. After approval, My Little Star made drawdowns on the line of credit through drawdown requests made by the defendant. The total amount of the drawdowns was $248, 723.06.

         ‘‘At some point, [Park Avenue] was seized by the [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)], and [Valley National] purchased the assets of [Park Avenue] from the FDIC as receiver. [The plaintiff's] Exhibit 9, which is a Purchase and Assumption Agreement, indicates that the FDIC transferred the defendant's obligation to [Park Avenue] to [Valley National]. . . .

         ‘‘The defendant has made no payments on the obligation of My Little Star as a personal guarantor. The current amount due as of July 22, 2015, is $328, 009.28, of which $248, 723.06 is principal, and $79, 286.22 is interest, with a per diem of $36.27.'' (Citation omitted; footnote omitted.) The plaintiff brought an action to enforce the debt owed by the defendant as the personal guarantor of the loan. The trial court found in favor of the plaintiff and rendered judgment against the defendant in the amount of $330, 040.40, which represented a principal balance of $248, 723.06, and interest in the amount of $81, 317.34. This appeal followed. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary.

         I

         The defendant's first claim is that the court improperly found that Valley National had established a proper chain of title regarding its ownership of the promissory note, which was originally executed and personally guaranteed by the defendant to Park Avenue, thereby giving Valley National standing[2] to bring an action on the guarantee of payment of that note. Specifically, the defendant argues that the plaintiff lacks standing to bring an action to enforce the defendant's personal guarantee on the promissory note for the following reasons: (1) none of the loan documents is endorsed, either in blank or specially, from Park Avenue to Valley National; (2) the plaintiff cannot prove that it is a non-holder with the rights of a holder because the plaintiff's witness, Michael Robinson, was not an employee of the plaintiff at the time that it acquired the assets of Park Avenue, nor was he involved in the transaction between the FDIC and the plaintiff; and (3) the purchase and assumption agreement does not specifically identify the My Little Star loan as an asset acquired by the plaintiff from the FDIC. We disagree and conclude that the court properly determined that Valley National had standing to pursue its claim against the defendant for his personal guarantee on the line of credit.

         We first set forth our standard of review. ‘‘The issue of standing implicates [the] court's subject matter jurisdiction. . . . Standing is the legal right to set judicial machinery in motion. One cannot rightfully invoke the jurisdiction of the court unless he [or she] has, in an individual or representative capacity, some real interest in the cause of action, or a legal or equitable right, title or interest in the subject matter of the controversy. . . . When standing is put in issue, the question is whether the person whose standing is challenged is a proper party to request an ...


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