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Hirsch v. Woermer

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

September 11, 2018

SANDRA M. HIRSCH, TRUSTEE
v.
WILLIAM S. WOERMER

          Argued May 17, 2018

         Procedural History

         Action to foreclose a mortgage on certain real property owned by the defendant, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven at Meriden, where the court, Hon. John F. Cronan, judge trial referee, granted the plaintiff's motion to strike the defendant's special defenses; thereafter, the court granted the plaintiff's motion for judgment and rendered judgment in part thereon; subsequently, the court denied the defendant's motion to open the judgment; thereafter, the court denied the defendant's motion to amend; subsequently, the court granted the plaintiff's motion for judgment of foreclosure by sale and rendered judgment thereon, from which the defendant appealed to this court; thereafter, the court denied the defendant's motion for articulation. Affirmed.

          Robert M. Singer, for the appellant (defendant).

          Harry Hirsch, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          Keller, Elgo and Beach, Js.

          OPINION

          ELGO, J.

         The defendant, William S. Woermer, appeals from the judgment of foreclosure by sale rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Sandra M. Hirsch, Trustee. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) granted the plaintiff's motion to strike his special defense of unconscionability and (2) denied his motion to open. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to our resolution of this appeal. The plaintiff holds a note from the defendant, which is now in default, for the original principal amount of $73, 200 secured by a mortgage on real property located in Branford. The mortgage was dated March 31, 2015, and recorded on the Branford land records.

         The plaintiff initiated this foreclosure action on May 3, 2016. On October 5, 2016, the defendant filed an answer and three special defenses on the basis of lack of standing, invalid mortgage, and unconscionability. On October 11, 2016, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, and subsequently moved to strike the defendant's three special defenses on December 15, 2016. On January 30, 2017, the defendant filed an objection.

         On January 31, 2017, the court granted the plaintiff's motion to strike. In striking the special defense of unconscionability, the court stated that ‘‘the defendant's claim that the initial loan was ‘outrageous and unconscionable' is without any statutory or case law basis. There is nothing in the record that indicates that the defendant was tricked or coerced into entering the original instrument.''

         The plaintiff filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings[1] in March, 2017. In support of the motion, the plaintiff argued that the defendant admitted liability on the complaint and had no valid special defense. On March 20, 2017, the court granted the plaintiff's motion and rendered judgment in her favor.

         On May 15, 2017, the defendant filed a motion to open the judgment.[2] In addition, the defendant filed a motion for permission to amend on May 15, 2017.[3] Specifically, the defendant requested permission to file a proposed amended special defense and a counterclaim alleging a violation of General Statutes ยง 36a-746 et seq., the Connecticut Abusive Home Loan Lending Practices Act (act). In response, the plaintiff filed separate objections on May 25, 2017, to the defendant's motion to open and the motion to amend. At the hearing on the motion to open and motion to amend, the plaintiff argued that the act does not provide a private right of action; rather the act describes activities that are regulated by the Commissioner of Banking. Following the hearing, the court denied both motions on May 31, 2017. Thereafter, on June 2, 2017, the plaintiff ...


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