GENERAL LINEN SERVICE COMPANY, INC.
CEDAR PARK INN AND WHIRLPOOL SUITES ET AL.
Submitted on briefs September 26, 2017
Leary filed a brief for the appellants (defendants).
Lawrence G. Rosenthal and Michael D. Blumberg filed a brief
for the appellee (plaintiff).
Alvord, Mullins and Beach, Js.
defendants, Cedar Park Inn & Whirlpool Suites (Cedar Park
Inn) and John G. Syragakis(collectively
‘‘defendants''), appeal from the denial
of their motion to open a judgment rendered in favor of the
plaintiff, General Linen Service Company, Inc. A default had
been ordered as a result of the defendants' failure to
comply with a discovery order and the trial court rendered
judgment after a hearing in damages. The defendants claim
that the trial court abused its discretion by not finding
that it had lacked subject matter jurisdiction and by instead
denying their motion to open because it did not satisfy the
requirements of General Statutes § 52-212 (a) and
Practice Book § 17-43. We affirm the judgment of the
following facts, as alleged in the complaint, and procedural
history are relevant to this appeal. The complaint, the
allegations of which are deemed to be true because of the
default; see Practice Book § 17-34; see also Torla
v. Torla, 152 Conn.App. 241, 246-48, 101 A.3d
275 (2014); stated that the defendant Cedar Park Inn was an
‘‘unincorporated, unregistered entity''
and that Syragakis ‘‘conducted business on behalf
of Cedar Park [Inn] under the unregistered trade name
‘Cedar Park Inn.' '' It alleged that in
July, 2013, the parties entered into a contract whereby the
plaintiff was to supply the defendants with linens and that
the defendants breached the contract in August, 2014. The
contract provided for liquidated damages. The second count of
the complaint alleged that Syragakis was personally liable
for damages because he had provided a ‘‘personal
a hearing in damages, the court, Hon. Robert C.
Leuba, judge trial referee, rendered a default judgment
on February 2, 2016. On March 10, 2016, the defendants filed
a motion to open the judgment ‘‘on the ground
that a necessary party was not served or otherwise made a
party to the present action, and therefore the court lacks
proper jurisdiction over this matter.'' The
defendants claimed, as subordinate facts, that Cedar Park Inn
was an unincorporated entity that was owned and operated by
Nautilus Development, Inc. (Nautilus), which had recently
filed for bankruptcy.The defendants further claimed that the
failure to serve Nautilus ‘‘affects the
court's jurisdiction and the judgment is, therefore,
plaintiff objected on the ground that the defendants'
motion to open failed to satisfy the requirements of §
52-212 (a) and Practice Book § 17-43 in that it failed
to state that a good defense existed at the time judgment was
rendered and that the defendants were prevented from raising
that defense due to a mistake, accident, or other reasonable
cause. It argued more specifically, inter alia, that the
failure to serve a necessary party was not a jurisdictional
defect and that the exclusive remedy for such a failure was a
motion to strike. There was, then, the plaintiff argued, no
viable defense stated in the motion to open. In their reply,
the defendants stressed that they were not pursuing a motion
to open pursuant to § 52-212 (a)or Practice Book §
17-43; rather, their claim was that the court had the
inherent authority to open a judgment rendered without
jurisdiction of the parties or the subject matter.
April 13, 2016, the court denied the defendants' motion
to open judgment. Its ruling stated, in its entirety, that
‘‘the defendants have not shown that a good
defense existed at the time the judgment was rendered or that
they were prevented from making a defense because of mistake,
accident or other reasonable cause.'' This appeal
appeal, the defendants' sole claim is that the trial
court abused its discretion by failing to hold that it had
lacked jurisdiction to render judgment because Nautilus, a
necessary party, had not been served, and therefore
improperly denied their motion to open. The plaintiff
contends that the trial court properly denied the
defendants' motion. We agree with the plaintiff.
review a trial court's ruling on motions to open under an
abuse of discretion standard. . . . Under this standard, we
give every reasonable presumption in favor of a
decision's correctness and will disturb the decision only
where the trial court acted unreasonably or in a clear abuse
of discretion. . . . As with any discretionary action of the
trial court . . . the ultimate [question for appellate
review] is whether the trial court could have reasonably
concluded as it did.'' (Citations omitted; internal
quotation marks omitted.) GMAC Mortgage, LLC v.
Ford, 178 Conn.App. 287, 294-95, A.3d (2017).
well settled that the failure to join an indispensable party
does not deprive a trial court of subject matter
jurisdiction. See General Statutes § 52-108 and Practice
Book §§ 9-18, 9-19 and 11-3; see also Hilton
v. New Haven, 233 Conn. 701, 721, 661 A.2d 973
(1995); Izzo v. Quinn, 170 Conn.App. 631,
636, 155 A.3d 315 (2017); Fountain Pointe, LLC v.
Calpitano, 144 Conn.App. 624, 648-49, 76 A.3d 636,
cert. denied, 310 Conn. 928, 78 A.3d 147 (2013);
D'Appollonio v. Griffo-Brandao, 138
Conn.App. 304, 313-14, 53 A.3d 1013 (2012); Sullivan
v. Thorndike, 104 Conn.App. 297, 301, 934 A.2d
827 (2007), cert. denied, 285 Conn. 907, 908, 942 A.2d 415,
416 (2008). In Izzo v. Quinn, supra, 638,
this court recently reiterated that the failure to join an
indispensable party results in a jurisdictional defect
‘‘only if a statute mandates the naming
and serving of [a particular] party.'' (Emphasis in
original; internal quotation marks omitted.); see, e.g.,
R.C. Equity Group, LLC v. Zoning
Commission, 285 Conn. 240, 241-43, 939 A.2d 1122 (2008)
(failure to serve borough clerk pursuant to zoning appeals
statute deprived trial court of subject matter jurisdiction).
when a party is indispensable but is not required by statute
to be made a party, the [trial] court's subject matter
jurisdiction is not implicated and dismissal is not
required.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
Izzo v.Quinn, supra, 170 Conn.App. 639.
Although ‘‘a court may refuse to proceed with
litigation if a claim cannot properly be adjudicated without
the presence of those indispensable persons whose substantive
rights and interests will be necessarily and materially
affected by its outcome, '' the absence of such a
party does not destroy jurisdiction. Hilton v.New Haven, supra, 233 Conn. 721-22. Further,
‘‘Practice Book §§ 10-39 and 11-3 . . .
provide that a ...