November 28, 2017
Tartaglia, self-represented, with whom, on the brief, was
Linda Tartaglia, self-represented, the appellants (defendant
John Tartaglia et al.).
M. McPherson, with whom, on the brief, was William J.
Kupinse, Jr., for the appellee (plaintiff).
Prescott, Elgo and Harper, Js.
this action seeking, inter alia, to enforce a personal
guarantee of a mortgage note, the defendants John Tartaglia
and Linda Tartaglia,  against whom summary judgment as to
liability only was rendered, appeal following a hearing in
damages from the court's award of $967, 467.59 in favor
of the plaintiff, Valley National Bank. On appeal, the
defendants argue that the court improperly (1) denied their
motion to dismiss the action, in which they alleged that the
plaintiff was not the owner of the debt at the time the
action was commenced and, thus, lacked standing to prosecute
the action; (2) granted summary judgment as to liability only
despite the defendants' insistence that genuine issues of
material facts existed regarding the plaintiff's
ownership of the debt; (3) permitted the plaintiff to amend
the complaint after summary judgment despite the
defendants' contention that the amendment added a new
cause of action; and (4) made several evidentiary rulings
against the defendants at the hearing in damages. We are not
persuaded by the defendants' claims and, accordingly,
affirm the judgment of the court.
record reveals the following relevant facts and procedural
history. The plaintiff commenced the underlying action in
January, 2011. The initial complaint contained three counts.
The first two counts sought to foreclose mortgages on two
multifamily residential properties located in Bridgeport. The
mortgages were executed by Private Transerve, LLC, as
security for a revolving building promissory note of up to
$500, 000. The third count sought money damages based upon
breach of an unconditional guarantee of the debts of Private
Transerve, LLC. The guarantee was executed by the defendants
and Geoffrey Minte.
31, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment
as to liability only. The defendants, Minte, and Private
Transerve, LLC, filed an opposition. On October 23, 2013,
after argument on the motion for summary judgment but prior
to the court acting on that motion, the defendants, Minte,
and Private Transerve, LLC, filed a motion to dismiss the
action, claiming that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring
the action, and, thus, the court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction. The plaintiff opposed the motion to dismiss.
August 15, 2014, the court, Tyma, J.,
issued a decision denying the motion to dismiss. The court
rejected all arguments that the plaintiff did not own the
debt at the time the action was commenced in January, 2011,
finding on the basis of the pleadings, affidavits, and other
proof in the file that the note and mortgages initially had
been assigned from the original lender, PAF Capital, LLC, to
The Park Avenue Bank, and then, in June, 2010, were assigned
to the plaintiff by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
acting as receiver for The Park Avenue Bank. The court
moreover rejected all claims that there were problems
affecting the validity of the aforementioned assignments.
August 17, 2015, the court, Hon. Alfred J. Jennings,
judge trial referee, issued a decision granting the motion
for summary judgment as to liability only on all counts of
the complaint. The court again rejected all arguments
regarding the plaintiff's lack of standing to prosecute
the action, indicating that the original signed note had been
presented and reviewed by the court and the defendants at the
hearing on the motion for summary judgment. The court
concluded that the plaintiff had made ‘‘an
adequate showing of the prima facie elements of its case for
foreclosure and breach of guaranty: ownership of the loan,
default of payment, and notice of
the pendency of the underlying action, the two properties at
issue were foreclosed in separate actions brought by
Bridgeport's water pollution control authority. In each
of those actions, the plaintiff exercised its right to redeem
each of the properties on its assigned law day. As a result,
the plaintiff acquired title to the properties and rendered
moot its own foreclosure counts in the present action. Each
time the plaintiff acquired a property, it filed an amended
complaint removing the related foreclosure count, eventually
leaving a single count complaint seeking money damages on the
basis of the defendants' breach of the personal guarantee
of the debt. The last such amendment was the third amended
complaint, to which the defendants objected, arguing, inter
alia, that the plaintiff was attempting to correct defects in
its prior pleadings or to change the cause of action alleged.
The court overruled the defendants' objection and
permitted the amendment.
hearing in damages was held by the court, Wenzel,
J., on July 26 and August 2, 2016. John Tartaglia
appeared as a self-represented party at the hearing. Linda
Tartaglia and Minte did not appear. On August 11, 2016, the
court issued a memorandum of decision awarding joint and
several damages totaling $967, 467.59 against the defendants
and Minte. This appeal followed.
appeal, the defendants raise a number of claims, none of
which warrants significant discussion. The court's
granting of permission to file the third amended complaint
and its evidentiary rulings at the hearing in damages were
discretionary in nature and are entitled to deferential
review. The defendants have failed to demonstrate that any of
these rulings relied upon clearly erroneous factual findings
or a misapprehension of the law, or that the court otherwise
abused its discretion.
have argued throughout these proceedings, the defendants
continue to maintain that the plaintiff lacked standing to
bring this action against them. Most of the arguments are
identical to those raised in conjunction with both the motion
to dismiss and the motion for summary judgment. On the basis
of our review of the record provided, as well as the briefs
and arguments of the parties, we are convinced that the
claims raised before the trial court regarding standing lack
merit and were properly rejected by the court for the reasons
provided in its memoranda of decision. In short, the record
reflects that the plaintiff established through ...