SHARA ROCCO ET AL.
ABDULHAMID D. SHAIKH ET AL.
March 19, 2018
inter alia, to quiet title to certain real property, and for
other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial
district of New Britain, where the action was withdrawn in
part; thereafter, the court, Young, J., issued an
order requiring the defendants to file an answer;
subsequently, the court defaulted the defendants; thereafter,
the court, Abrams, J., denied the defendants'
motion to set aside the default; subsequently, the defendants
filed a counterclaim; thereafter, the court, Wiese,
J., granted the plaintiffs' motion to strike the
counterclaim; subsequently, following a hearing in damages,
the court, Hon. William M. Shaughnessy, Jr., judge
trial referee, rendered judgment for the plaintiffs;
thereafter, the court, Hon. William M. Shaughnessy,
Jr., judge trial referee, issued an amended judgment,
from which the defendants appealed to this court;
subsequently, the court, Hon. William M. Shaughnessy,
Jr., judge trial referee, granted the plaintiffs'
motion to partially terminate the appellate stay, issued a
clarification of the judgment, and denied the defendants'
motion to open and vacate the judgment. Affirmed.
Schoenhorn, with whom, on the brief, were Kathryn A. Mallach
and Magdalena Narozniak, law student intern, for the
Garrett S. Flynn, for the appellees (plaintiffs).
Keller, Elgo and Bright, Js.
defendants, Abdulhamid D. Shaikh and Rukaiyabanu A. Shaikh,
appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor
of the plaintiffs, Shara Rocco and Patrick Rocco. On appeal,
the defendants claim that (1) the plaintiffs lacked standing
to maintain their causes of action because Shara Rocco
transferred her interest in the subject property to a trust
before the court rendered judgment; (2) the court lacked
subject matter jurisdiction over count two of the
plaintiffs' complaint because the statutory grounds on
which the plaintiffs relied did not apply to the type of lien
at issue in the present case; and (3) we should exercise our supervisory
authority over the administration of justice to reverse the
judgment because it was procured by fraud, both by the
plaintiffs and by the defendants' former attorney. We
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
following procedural history is relevant to the present
appeal. In November, 2015, the plaintiffs commenced the
underlying action against the defendants. In their six count
complaint, dated October 29, 2015, the plaintiffs alleged
that, prior to the dissolution of their marriage, they
resided at 124 Steeple View Drive in the Kensington section
of Berlin (property), and that Shara Rocco was the record
owner of the property. The plaintiffs further alleged:
‘‘As part of the divorce process, the
[plaintiffs] agreed to sell the [property] and divide the net
proceeds of the sale. The [plaintiffs] agreed that until the
[property] was sold, [Patrick Rocco] would be responsible for
certain expenses associated with the [property], including
real estate taxes, utilities, maintenance fees and insurance.
. . .
[plaintiffs] were motivated to sell the [property], not only
to obtain the sale proceeds, but also to stop having to incur
further carrying costs. The [plaintiffs] were eager to show
the [property] in the spring and summer, which is customarily
regarded as the best time to sell [property] in Connecticut.
. . . [They] listed for sale the property through a real
estate agent. Numerous potential buyers expressed interest in
purchasing the property. . . .
or about April 6, , the [plaintiffs'] real estate
agent showed the property to the [defendants]. On the same
day, the [defendants] made an offer to purchase the property
at a price lower than the asking price. The [defendants]
expressly said that their offer was to purchase the
[property] ‘as is,' which is understood in the real
estate business to mean that the sellers would not offer
reductions in the selling price based on conditions with the
house or property. . . .
the weeks following April 6, , the [plaintiffs] and the
[defendants] negotiated the price for the property. During
those discussions the [defendants] repeated their offer to
purchase the [property] ‘as is.' ...
or about April 15, 2015, the [plaintiffs] and the
[defendants] agreed upon a purchase price of $577, 500. . . .
The [plaintiffs] agreed to accept the [defendants'] offer
not only because of the price, but also because the
[defendants'] offer lacked many contingencies often found
in real estate contracts. . . . As memorialized in the
contract for the purchase and sale of the property . . . the
[defendants] agreed to purchase the [property] for cash . . .
the [defendants] did not condition their purchase . . . on
the sale of their existing house . . . and, as discussed
repeatedly during the discussions leading up to the execution
of the . . . contract, the [defendants] agreed to purchase
the [property] ‘as is.' ''
plaintiffs further alleged that the parties' contract,
executed on April 15, 2015, conspicuously included language
that the property was being sold ‘‘as
is'' and that the contract permitted the defendants
to terminate the contract in the event that an inspection
revealed any serious issues with the property. That provision
of the contract, however, provided that the defendants'
right to terminate expired if it was not exercised within
twenty-four days of the signing of the parties' contract.
the plaintiffs asserted: ‘‘On or before May 5,
2015, the [defendants] forwarded to the [plaintiffs']
real estate agent a copy of a home inspection report. The
[defendants] asked for a price reduction based on issues
purportedly found by the inspector and set forth in the
report. . . . The real estate agent reminded the [defendants]
that they agreed to purchase the [property] on an ‘as
is' basis and that there would be no reduction in the
price based on issues set forth in the report. The
[defendants] responded and said that they understood. . . .
May 11, 2015, after a week of the [defendants'] repeated
requests for credits (which the real estate agent rejected),
the [defendants] agreed that their deposits [with the real
estate agent totaling $10, 000] became firm (i.e.,
nonrefundable) because the May 9 termination deadline had
passed. The [defendants] said that they were moving forward
with the purchase.''
to the closing on June 2, 2015, ‘‘historically
significant rainstorms'' moved through the area where
the property was located, thereby resulting in the
accumulation of water on the property. ‘‘Members
of the [defendants'] family visited the property for a
walkthrough on the morning of June 2. Just hours after the
walk-through, the defendants told the real estate agent that
they would not close on the property on that day and that the
[defendants] would not purchase the property unless the
plaintiffs reduced the purchase price of the [property] based
on purported ‘drainage issues.' Later in the day,
the [defendants] demanded that the price of the [property]be
reduced by $17, 500 on account of the purported drainage
issues. . . .
[defendants] persisted in this demand even though they were
reminded that the property was being sold ‘as is'
and that even if drainage issues were relevant to the sale
price (which they were not), no water entered the house and
the wet area drained within twenty-four hours of the
historically significant rainstorm . . . .''
on the ‘‘as is'' provision of the
contract, the plaintiffs declined to deviate from the
contract's terms, and the defendants have refused to
purchase the property ‘‘as is'' for the
agreed upon purchase price memorialized in the contract. The
plaintiffs also contended that, until the defendants
repudiated the contract, they were ready, willing, and able
to convey the property to the defendants for the agreed upon
price of $577, 500, less deposits already received.
addition to suffering damages in the form of lost proceeds
from the sale of the property for the purchase price set
forth in the contract, the plaintiffs alleged that they
continued to bear the expenses associated with owning the
property, including expenses related to taxes, utilities,
insurance, maintenance, attorney's fees, and mortgage
charges. The plaintiffs attempted to mitigate their damages
by relisting the property for sale. In this regard, they
alleged: ‘‘New buyers . . . offered to purchase
the property, and on August 25, 2015, the [plaintiffs] and
the new buyers executed a contract for sale for the property
. . . . [The contract with the new buyers] obligated the
[plaintiffs] to convey title in fee simple to the new buyers,
free of any liens. . . . Before the [plaintiffs could close
on the sale of the property to the new buyers, the
[defendants] caused a copy of [the contract entered into by
the plaintiffs and the defendants] to be recorded in the
Berlin land records . . . . When the new buyers' counsel
performed a title search on the property . . . counsel
discovered the [defendants'] filing. On or about
September 29, 2015, the new buyers' counsel told the
[plaintiffs'] agent that the [defendants'] filing
constituted a cloud on the title of the property that
precluded the new buyers from purchasing the property. Among
other things, the new buyers' title insurance company
refused to insure the property because of the
[defendants'] land records filing. . . .
[plaintiffs], through counsel, made diligent, good faith
efforts to attempt to have the [defendants] remove the
[defendants'] land records filing from the Berlin land
records. These included repeated communications to the
[defendants'] counsel and offering additional inducements
that the [plaintiffs] were not obligated to make. On or about
September 11, 2015, the [plaintiffs'] counsel notified
the [defendants] in writing that the [defendants'] land
records filing constituted an improper cloud on the title to
the property and sent to the [defendants'] counsel a
document for the [defendants'] execution that would
release the [defendants'] land record filing from the
Berlin land records.''
plaintiffs further alleged that the defendants consistently
have refused to remove the filing from the land records and
have indicated that they intend to encumber the
plaintiffs' property. As a result of the filing, the
plaintiffs asserted that they have suffered damages,
‘‘including the lost opportunity to sell the
property to the new buyers, '' as well as the varied
expenses related to their continued ownership of the
on the foregoing factual allegations, the plaintiffs set
forth six causes of action. In count one, the plaintiffs
sought to quiet title under General Statutes § 47-31.
They alleged that Shara Rocco acquired fee simple title to
the subject property on November 14, 2013, and that she held
title to the property. In relevant part, the plaintiffs
asserted: ‘‘Shara Rocco seeks a declaration that
her ownership interest in the property is unaffected by the
[defendants'] land records filing and that the
[defendants'] land records filing fails to establish any
estate, interest, or encumbrance on the property.''
count two, the plaintiffs sought to discharge an invalid lien
under General Statutes §§ 49-13 and 49-92e. They
alleged that the defendants' land records filing
‘‘is an improper and invalid encumbrance on the
property, '' and that the defendants wrongfully have
refused to release the filing. The plaintiffs sought
‘‘a judicial declaration that the
[defendants'] land records [filing] is invalid, plus an
award of ...