United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JOAN SECHLER-HOAR ET AL.
TRUST U/W OF GLADYS G. HOART ET AL.
RULING ON SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING RELATED TO
PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR REJUDGMENT REMEDY
Glazer Margolis U.S. Magistrate Judge
November 22, 2017, plaintiff Joan Sechler-Hoar filed her
complaint (Dkt. #1) against defendants Trust u/w of Gladys G.
Hoart; Thomas C. Mackasek, as co-Trustee for Trust u/w of
Gladys G. Hoart f/b/o Robert R. Hoar; Thomas C. Mackasek,
individually; Cullen and Dykman LLP; Helen L. Hoart as
co-Trustee for Trust u/w of Gladys G. Hoart f/b/o Robert R.
Hoar; the Estate of Robert R. Hoar; Helen L. Hoart,
individually; Helen L. Hoart, as executrix for the will of
Gladys G. Hoart; Bailey Dunlap Sterrett, III; Brendan
Gallagher Hoar; and Patrick Reddy Hoar. Plaintiff alleges,
inter alia, breach of oral contract, quantum meruit,
tortious interference with her and her now-deceased
husband's inheritance, lack of mental capacity, breach of
fiduciary duty, self dealing, conversion, fraudulent
conveyance, fraud by inducement, intentional infliction of
emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional
distress, legal malpractice, elder abuse, and violation of
the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. (Id.).
Many of the events at issue in the complaint occurred between
2004 and 2008. (Id.).
day she filed the complaint, plaintiff also filed a Motion
for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Dkt. #2) and
an Application for Prejudgment Remedy [“PJR] (Dkt. #3).
On November 30, 2011, plaintiff filed an affidavit related to
her PJR application. (Dkt. #6). On that same day, Judge Meyer
granted plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis (Dkt. #7) and referred plaintiff's
PJR application to this Magistrate Judge (Dkt. #8). On
December 1, 2017, this Magistrate Judge issued an electronic
order scheduling an evidentiary hearing on plaintiff's
PJR application on December 6, 2017, requiring plaintiff to
serve specific documents upon defendants, and requiring
plaintiff to file a memorandum addressing three issues:
first, whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over all the claims in this lawsuit, as opposed to a Probate
Court in the State of New York where Gladys Hoart resided and
died (see Marshall v. Marshall, 126 S.Ct. 1735
(2006) and Lefkowitz v. Bank of New York, 528 F.3d
102 (2d Cir. 2007)); second, whether this Court has in
personam jurisdiction over the eleven defendants, all of
whom reside in New York, Delaware, Washington, D.C., or
Virginia; and third, whether the statute of limitations has
run with regard to events that transpired in 2004-08. (Dkt.
#11). Plaintiff filed the required memorandum on December 4,
2017. (Dkt. #14).
PJR application sought an attachment of $500, 000 against a
trust account being held at Merrill Lynch, the funds of which
were scheduled to be distributed by December 8, 2017, and
against a property located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Dkt.
#3; see also Dkt. #6). In open court on December 6,
2017, the parties reached an agreement granting in part
plaintiff's PJR application. (Dkts. ##21, 23-24). Without
conceding or contesting probable cause, the defendants agreed
to provide the following: (1) a $500, 000 cash bond to secure
plaintiff's claims, and (2) a lien of prejudgment
attachment on real property located at 350 Grovers Avenue,
Unit 7E, Bridgeport, CT, 06605. (Dkt. #23). The parties
further agreed to submit supplemental briefing on whether
the Connecticut statutes permit the defendant Trust to sell
the so-liened property upon the posting of a substituted
bond, and whether the Court has the authority to bar
such a sale during the pendency of the action.
(Id.). Plaintiff filed her initial brief on January
18, 2018 (Dkt. #34), and defendants filed their initial brief
the next day (Dkts. ##36-37). Plaintiff filed her reply brief
on January 25, 2018 (Dkt. #41), and defendants filed their
reply brief the next day (Dkt. ##42-43).
reasons set forth below, this Court finds that Conn. Gen.
Stat. § 52-304 permits defendants to dissolve the lien
of attachment on the real property in question upon the
posting of a substituted bond, and that such provision is not
discretionary; this Court may only review the proposed
substitution to determine that it has a net equity value that
is equal to or greater than the value of the attachment.
Accordingly, plaintiff's Application for Prejudgment
Remedy (Dkt. #3) is granted in part and denied in
part, such that defendants will provide a $500, 000 cash
bond and a lien on the real property in question to secure
plaintiff's claims, but defendants may apply to dissolve
the attachment lien pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §
LEGAL STANDARD FOR PREJUDGMENT REMEDY
“is generally intended to secure the satisfaction of a
judgment should plaintiff prevail.” Cendant Corp.
v. Shelton, No. 3:06 CV 854 (JCH), 2007 WL 1245310, at
*2 (D. Conn. Apr. 30, 2007)(citation omitted). Rule 64 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the Court to
enter a PJR as may be permitted “under the law of the
state where the court is located” in order “to
secure satisfaction of the potential judgment.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 64(a); see Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v.
Brotherhood of Teamsters & Auto Truck Drivers
Local No. 70 of Alameda County, 415 U.S. 423, 436 n.
to the Connecticut PJR statute, the standard for issuing a
prejudgment remedy is probable cause, so that a prejudgment
remedy is appropriate
[i]f the court, upon consideration of the facts before it and
taking into account any defenses, counterclaims or set-offs,
claims of exemption and claims of adequate insurance, finds
that the [movant] has shown probable cause that such a
judgment will be rendered in the matter in the [movant's]
favor in the amount of the prejudgment remedy sought . . . .
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-278d(a). “Probable
cause” has been defined by the Connecticut courts as
“‘a bona fide belief in the existence of the
facts essential under the law for the action and such as
would warrant a [person] of ordinary caution, prudence and
judgment, under the circumstances, in entertaining
it.'” Walpole Woodworkers, Inc. v. Atlas
Fencing, Inc., 218 F.Supp.2d 247, 249 (D. Conn. 2002),
quoting Three S. Dev. Co. v. Santore, 193 Conn. 174,
176 (1984)(citation omitted). A PJR proceeding is “only
concerned with whether and to what extent the plaintiff is
entitled to have property of the defendant held in the
custody of the law pending adjudication of the merits of that
action.” Benton v. Simpson, 78 Conn.App. 746,
751-52 (Conn. App. Ct. 2003)(citation & internal
quotations omitted). While a PJR hearing “is not
contemplated to be a full scale trial on the merits of
plaintiff's claim[s], ” Bank of Boston
Conn. v. Schlessinger, 220 Conn. 152, 156
(1991)(multiple citations & internal quotations omitted),
a plaintiff is “bound to furnish proof of [her] damage
with reasonable probability, and not leave the trial court to
speculation and conjecture.” Mullai v. Mullai,
1 Conn.App. 93, 95 (Conn. App. Ct. 1983)(per
curiam). After a hearing, the Court must “consider
not only the validity of the plaintiff's claim but also
the amount that is being sought.” Calfee v.
Usman, 224 Conn. 29, 38 (1992) (citation & internal
quotations omitted). Additionally, the Court must
“evaluate not only the plaintiff's claim but also
any defenses raised by the defendant.” Balzer v.
Millward, Civ. No. 3:10 CV 1740 (SRU)(HBF), 2011 WL
1547211, at *1 (D. Conn. Apr. 21, 2011), quoting Haxhi v.
Moss, 25 Conn.App. 16, 20 (Conn. App. Ct. 1991)(citation
DISSOLUTION OF ATTACHMENT LIEN ON REAL PROPERTY
court on December 6, 2017, the parties agreed that for the
security of her claims, defendants would provide plaintiff
with, inter alia, a lien of prejudgment attachment
on the real property located at 350 Grovers Avenue, Unit 7E,
Bridgeport, CT, 06605. (Dkt. #23). The parties sought leave
to file supplemental briefing such that this judicial officer
would determine whether Connecticut statutes permit the
defendant Trust to sell the so-liened property upon ...