February 13, 2018
for the dissolution of a marriage, and for other relief,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Stamford-Norwalk, and tried to the court, Hon. Stanley
Novack, judge trial referee; judgment dissolving the
marriage and granting certain other relief in accordance with
the parties' separation agreement; thereafter, the court,
Colin, J., denied the plaintiff's motion for
contempt, and the plaintiff appealed to this court.
Meredith C. Braxton, for the appellant (plaintiff).
M. Kweskin, with whom, on the brief, was Sarah E. Gleason,
for the appellee (defendant).
DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Bozzuto, Js.
DiPENTIMA, C. J.
plaintiff, Kim Magsig,  appeals from the denial of her
postdissolution motion for contempt. On appeal, she claims
that the trial court improperly concluded that the defendant,
Michael Magsig, had not violated an indemnification
obligation contained in the parties' separation
agreement. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
record reveals the following relevant facts and procedural
history. On April 16, 2013, the court, Hon. Stanley
Novack, judge trial referee, dissolved the marriage of
the parties. In accordance with General Statutes §
46b-66, the judgment of dissolution incorporated by reference
the parties' separation agreement (agreement). Article 9
of the agreement addressed past and future debts of the
9.2 of the agreement provided: ‘‘The
[defendant] shall be solely responsible for the
Wells Fargo Bank debt (formerly the home equity line of
credit on the parties' foreclosed Greenwich property) as
a support obligation and shall indemnify and hold
the [plaintiff] harmless from any loss,
injury, debt, charge, legal fees, or liability whatsoever
with respect thereto. The [plaintiff] shall secure this
indemnification obligation with his Schwab IRA and Korn Ferry
401 (K) and provide the [plaintiff] semiannually with a
statement for each account so long as he shall have this
indemnification obligation. The [defendant] shall notify the
[plaintiff] of any and all material, significant developments
or discussions that take place between him and his
representatives and Wells Fargo or its representatives. The
[defendant] shall promptly notify the [plaintiff] in the
event he learns that Wells Fargo is about to commence an
action or seek a lien on the [plaintiff's] real property.
In the alternative, if the [defendant] is able to remove the
[plaintiff's] name as a joint and severally liable
obligor on the promissory note to Wells Fargo, which shall be
no later than November 16, 2018, the time of the expiration
of the statute of limitations on the Wells Fargo liability,
all obligations to the [plaintiff] to hold her harmless from
liability from Wells Fargo shall terminate.''
January 23, 2014, the plaintiff filed a motion for contempt
pursuant to Practice Book § 25-27, alleging that the
defendant had violated § 9.2 of the agreement.
Specifically, she claimed that the defendant had not made the
‘‘required, regular payments to [the Wells Fargo
debt] for approximately one year'' and had not
notified her of ‘‘any and all material,
significant developments or discussions'' regarding
this debt; namely, that he intentionally had defaulted on the
loan, resulting in an immediate debt of $434, 958.
plaintiff further alleged that the defendant had agreed to
indemnify her for both loss and liability and that, under
Connecticut law, she became entitled to indemnification as
soon as the defendant caused her to be liable to Wells Fargo
for the entire balance due. Additionally, she claimed injury
in that, as a result of the defendant's actions, (1) her
credit score had ‘‘dropped
precipitously''; and (2) she would not be able to
remove him from the mortgage note for a South Carolina
property as required by the terms of the agreement. Finally,
the plaintiff requested attorney's fees pursuant to
§ 11.3 of the agreement.
defendant filed an objection to the plaintiff's contempt
motion, disputing her claims. Specifically, he argued that
because Wells Fargo had not commenced a legal action to
enforce its right on the debt, his indemnification obligation
had not been triggered. He further claimed that the agreement
did not require him to make any payments at any particular
time to Wells Fargo. The defendant also maintained that he
had secured his indemnity obligation as required by the
agreement and had not learned of any material, significant
developments regarding the debt, nor had he had any
discussions with Wells Fargo. Finally, the defendant
requested attorney's fees incurred in responding to the
plaintiff's motion and on the basis of
September 4, 2015, the plaintiff filed a reply in further
support of her motion. She iterated that, under Connecticut
law, she was entitled to prosecute this motion at the time
her liability was incurred and was not required to wait for
an actual loss. She also claimed that relevant principles of
contract interpretation supported her position.
court, Colin, J., conducted hearings on May 18, May
19, and May 20, 2016. An employee of Wells Fargo, the plaintiff
and the defendant testified, and, following the presentation
of evidence, the court heard argument from counsel. On May
23, 2016, the court issued a memorandum of decision denying
the plaintiff's motion for contempt. The court concluded
that the plaintiff failed to prove, by clear and convincing
evidence, that the defendant wilfully and intentionally had
violated § 9.2 of the agreement.
the court found that the plaintiff had not produced
sufficient evidence that she had suffered any loss, injury,
debt, charge, legal fees or liability as to the Wells Fargo
debt since the date of the dissolution of the marriage. The
court also found that although prior to judgment, the real
property that originally secured the Wells Fargo debt had
been foreclosed and the debt was in ...