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Ajluni v. Chainani

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

September 11, 2018

JACK AJLUNI
v.
STEVE SUDHIR CHAINANI

          Argued February 20, 2018

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for, inter alia, breach of contract, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk and tried to the court, Povodator, J.; judgment in part for the plaintiff, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Roy W. Moss, for the appellant (defendant).

          Benjamin M. Wattenmaker, with whom, on the brief, was John M. Wolfson, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          Alvord, Keller and Bishop, Js.

          OPINION

          ALVORD, J.

         The defendant, Steve Sudhir Chainani, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, in which it concluded that he breached his guaranty obligation to the plaintiff, Jack Ajluni. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly determined that the applicable statute of limitations did not bar the action because (1) the relation back doctrine applied to the plaintiff's claim and (2) certain communications between the plaintiff and the defendant reaffirmed the debt so as to toll the statute of limitations on the plaintiff's claim.[1] We conclude that certain e-mails exchanged between the parties reaffirmed the debt and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.[2]

         The court's memorandum of decision details the relevant facts and procedural history. ‘‘On or about August 13, 2008, the plaintiff loaned Chainani Associates, LLC (Chainani Associates) . . . a Connecticut limited liability company, the sum of $200, 000, as evidenced by the [Chainani Associates'] Secured Promissory Note . . . in said principal amount. . . . The note was secured by a [mortgage] of the same date executed by the borrower on the borrower's real property in Stamford, Connecticut . . . . To further secure the note, the [d]efendant executed a written personal guaranty . . . of payment of all obligations of the borrower under the note. . . . [T]he maturity date of the note was November 11, 2008. . . .

         ‘‘The mortgaged property was part of the borrower's adjacent properties on Summer Street consisting of two low rise office buildings that the borrower intended to redevelop with a residential tower. The loan served to finance legal, engineering, and other expenses incurred in connection with obtaining certain significant zoning and other approvals required for the project. However, by November, 2008, although the borrower had succeeded, at least in part, in obtaining approvals, the market crashed and ultimately a senior mortgage lender foreclosed on the property.

         ‘‘No payment has been made on the note or pursuant to the Guaranty. On or about July 19, 2010, in the Superior Court of the state of California, county of San Mateo, the plaintiff filed an action, CIV 497018 (California action) against the defendant on the guaranty. On or about July 26, 2010, service of the California summons and complaint was made upon the defendant at his residence in New Canaan, Connecticut. The defendant did not appear in the California action. Consequently, thereafter, on motion of the plaintiff, on or about October 12, 2010, a default judgment was entered in the California action in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $304, 086.52. . . .

         ‘‘[This] action was commenced in February, 2014, the single count alleging nonpayment of the California judgment and seeking to domesticate [that judgment].

         ‘‘On November 18, 2014, the plaintiff filed a proposed amended complaint . . . that added additional counts for breach of contract (count two), breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing (count three), and unjust enrichment (count four). These additional counts allege nonpayment of the guaranty.

         ‘‘In January of 2015, the plaintiff attempted to amend his complaint further, seeking to add counts alleging misrepresentation and fraud; an objection ...


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