Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Federal National Mortgage Association v. Buhl

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

December 25, 2018

FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION
v.
PAUL BUHL ET AL.

          Argued September 24, 2018

         Procedural History

         Summary process action brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Middlesex and tried to the court, Vitale, J.; thereafter, the defendant Luce Buhl was defaulted for failure to appear; judgment for the plaintiff, from which the defendants appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Paul D. Buhl, self-represented, with whom, on the brief, was Luce L. Buhl, self-represented, the appellants (defendants).

          Peter A. Ventre, for the appellee (plaintiff).

          Elgo, Bright and Sullivan, Js.

          OPINION

          SULLIVAN, J.

         The present appeal in this summary process action stems from the foreclosure of real property located at 12 Casner Road in East Haddam. The self-represented defendants, Paul Buhl and Luce Buhl, [1]appeal from the judgment of possession rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Federal National Mortgage Association. On appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court (1) improperly determined that they did not commence an action pursuant to General Statutes § 47-36aa (a), (2) improperly determined that the deed to the subject property was valid despite notarial defects, (3) abused its discretion by allowing the plaintiff's counsel to give unsworn testimony, and (4) abused its discretion by rendering a default judgment against Luce Buhl for failure to appear at trial. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to our resolution of this appeal. In 2016, the plaintiff acquired title to the property through a strict foreclosure action, while the defendants were living on the premises. On March 29, 2017, the plaintiff commenced this summary process action against the defendants. Paragraph 2 of the plaintiff's complaint alleged that ‘‘Liberty Bank[2] quitclaimed the property to [the plaintiff] and said deed was recorded September 28, 2016, on the East Haddam land records in volume 1012, pages 207-208.'' (Footnote added.)

         On May 12, 2017, the defendants denied the material allegations of the complaint, including paragraph 2. The defendants also asserted a special defense that they had commenced an action against the plaintiff in federal District Court concerning the ownership of the property and that the federal action needed to be resolved before the underlying summary process action could proceed.[3]

         The summary process action was tried to the court on June 5 and 26, and July 3, 2017. On June 26, 2017, the defendants filed a second special defense alleging that the deed to the property was invalid because its acknowledgment was undated. On July 3, 2017, the court rendered judgment against Paul Buhl on the merits and rendered a default judgment against Luce Buhl for failure to appear at trial. This appeal followed. Additional facts and procedural history will be set forth as necessary.

         The defendants' first two claims are based on their argument that the trial court misinterpreted and misapplied § 47-36aa. We begin with the standard of review for these claims. ‘‘When construing a statute, [o]ur fundamental objective is to ascertain and give effect to the apparent intent of the legislature. . . . In seeking to determine that meaning, General Statutes § 1-2z directs us first to consider the text of the statute itself and its relationship to other statutes. If, after examining such text and considering such relationship, the meaning of such text is plain and unambiguous and does not yield absurd or unworkable results, extratextual evidence of the meaning of the statute shall not be considered. . . . The test to determine ambiguity is whether the statute, when read in context, is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation. . . . When a statute is not plain and unambiguous, we also look for interpretive guidance to the legislative history and circumstances surrounding its enactment, to the legislative policy it was designed to implement, and to its relationship to existing legislation and common law principles governing the same general subject matter . . . . The issue of statutory interpretation . . . is a question of law subject to plenary review.'' (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Commissioner of Emergency Services & Public Protection v. Freedom of Information Commission, 330 Conn. 372, 380, 194 A.3d 759 (2018).

         Section 47-36aa, which is commonly known as the validating act, provides in relevant part: ‘‘(a) Conveyancing defects. Any deed, mortgage, lease, power of attorney, release, assignment or other instrument made for the purpose of conveying, leasing, mortgaging or affecting any interest in real property in this state recorded after January 1, 1997, which instrument contains any one or more of the following defects or omissions is as valid as if it had been executed without the defect or omission unless an action challenging the validity of that instrument is commenced and a notice of lis pen-dens is recorded in the land records of the town or towns where the instrument is recorded within two years after the instrument is recorded: (1) The instrument contains a defective acknowledgment or no acknowledgment . . . . (b) Insubstantial defects. Any deed, mortgage, lease, power of attorney, release, assignment or other instrument made for the purpose of conveying, leasing, mortgaging or affecting any interest in real property in this state recorded after January 1, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.