REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE NETWORK, INC.
LAURA SQUILLANTE ET AL.
April 16, 2018
to foreclose a mortgage on certain real property owned by the
named defendant, and for other relief, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where
the defendants were defaulted for failure to plead;
thereafter, the court, Wahla, J., granted
the plaintiff's motion for a judgment of strict
foreclosure and rendered judgment thereon; subsequently, the
court, Scholl, J., granted the named
defendant's motion to open and vacate the judgment;
thereafter, the court, Scholl, J., denied
the named defendant's motion to reopen and vacate the
judgment; subsequently, the court, Wahla,
J., denied the named defendant's motion to
reopen the judgment and extend the law day, from which the
named defendant appealed to this court. Improper form of
judgment; judgment directed.
Matthew S. Carlone, for the appellant (named defendant).
R. Dunaj, with whom, on the brief, was S. Bruce Fair, for the
DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Harper, Js.
DiPENTIMA, C. J.
defendant Laura Squillanteappeals from an order of the trial court
denying her motion to reopen a judgment of strict
foreclosure. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial
court erred in denying her motion because, although it was
filed approximately nine months after the applicable law day,
title had not vested in the plaintiff, Real Estate Mortgage
Network, Inc., and, thus, the court had jurisdiction to
reopen the judgment of strict foreclosure. We do not agree.
following uncontroverted facts are relevant to this appeal.
On March 7, 2013, the plaintiff commenced an action for
strict foreclosure against the defendant. In its complaint,
the plaintiff alleged that the defendant had executed a
promissory note with a principal amount of $447, 700, secured
by a mortgage on real property located at 32 Frazer Fir Road
in South Windsor. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant
was in default, and, as holder of the mortgage and note, the
plaintiff was electing to accelerate the balance of the note
and foreclose on the mortgage.
January 7, 2015, following the expiration of the foreclosure
mediation period, the defendant was defaulted for failure to
plead. Five days later, on January 12, 2015, the trial court
rendered a judgment of strict foreclosure and scheduled the
law day for April 27, 2015. Prior to the law day, on April
22, 2015, the defendant filed a motion to open and vacate the
judgment of foreclosure. The court granted the defendant's
motion on April 27, 2015, and extended the law day until June
8, 2015. Prior to the new law day, on June 3, 2015, the
defendant filed a motion to reopen, citing similar grounds as
those pleaded in her prior motion to open. The court denied
her motion on June 8, 2015, but extended the law day to June
29, 2015. The law day passed without any appeal or additional
motions being filed.
nine months after the June 29, 2015 law day, on March 24,
2016, the defendant filed a second motion to reopen the
judgment of strict foreclosure. In her motion, the defendant
claimed that the court had jurisdiction to open the judgment
because title had not vested in the plaintiff. Specifically,
the defendant argued that the June 29, 2015 law day was
invalid because it fell within the appeal period following
the court's denial of the defendant's first motion to
reopen. Because the law day was purportedly
invalid, the defendant contended that title could not vest
even though no appeal was filed. The trial court disagreed
and concluded that title had vested in the plaintiff
following the June 29, 2015 law day. Accordingly, the trial
court denied the defendant's motion as moot.
appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erroneously
denied her most recent motion to reopen because a law day set
within an applicable appeal period is invalid. The defendant
argues that, irrespective of whether an appeal is filed,
title cannot vest following a law day that impermissibly
shortens the period in which to appeal a court's ruling.
For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we conclude that
the June 29, 2015 law day did not shorten the defendant's
appeal period and was therefore valid. Because the law day
was valid, title vested in the plaintiff, and the
defendant's second motion to reopen was moot.
begin by setting forth the applicable standard of review for
a claim that the trial court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction. ‘‘When the court draws conclusions
of law, our review is plenary and we must decide whether
those conclusions are legally and logically
correct.'' Continental Capital Corp. v.
Lazarte, 57 Conn.App. 271, 273, 749 A.2d 646 (2000).
the trial court has jurisdiction to open a judgment of strict
foreclosure is generally dependent on whether title has
vested in the encumbrancer. See General Statutes § 49-15
(a) (1) (upon written motion by interested person, court may
open and modify any judgment of strict foreclosure as it
deems reasonable, ‘‘provided no such judgment
shall be opened after the title has become absolute in
any encumbrancer'' [emphasis added]).
‘‘When a motion to open and a subsequent appeal
from the denial of the motion to open are filed after title
has vested in an encumbrancer, no practical relief can be
granted and ...