Submitted on briefs November 26, 2018
to foreclose a mortgage on certain real property of the named
defendant et al., and for other relief, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where
the named defendant was defaulted for failure to appear;
thereafter, the court, Robaina, J., granted the
plaintiff's motion for a judgment of foreclosure and
rendered judgment of foreclosure by sale; subsequently, the
court, Dubay, J., denied the named defendant's
motion to open the judgment and to dismiss; thereafter, the
court, Dubay, J., issued an articulation of its
decision and denied the named defendant's motion for
reconsideration, and the named defendant appealed to this
John-Nicholson filed a brief for the appellant (named
J. Piscitelli filed a brief for the appellee (plaintiff).
Prescott, Elgo and Bear, Js.
defendant Kevin Purcell appeals following the trial court's
denial of his motion to open the judgment of foreclosure by
sale and to dismiss the action. Specifically, the defendant
claims that the trial court should have dismissed the action
because it lacked personal jurisdiction over him due to
insufficient service of process on him. We affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. The plaintiff, People's United Bank, National
Association, commenced this action against the defendant on
June 3, 2016, seeking to foreclose on his mortgaged property
located at 180 Palm Street in Hartford. The state
marshal's return of service indicated that she served the
defendant by leaving the writ of summons and a copy of the
complaint at the defendant's usual place of abode, the
180 Palm Street address.
26, 2016, the defendant was defaulted for failure to appear.
The court subsequently rendered a judgment of foreclosure by
sale on October 31, 2016. On February 3, 2017, the defendant
filed a motion to open the judgment and to dismiss the
action, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over him
because he was never served with the writ of summons and
complaint. After an evidentiary hearing, at which
both the defendant and the marshal who served him by a bode
service testified, the court denied the defendant's
motion to open the judgment and to dismiss the
plaintiff's action, and set a new sale date.
defendant next filed a motion to reargue his motion to open
the judgment and for the court to reconsider its ruling,
which the court also denied. The defendant then filed this
appeal and subsequently moved for an articulation of the
court's decision denying his motion to open the judgment
and to dismiss the plaintiff's action. In its
articulation, the trial court stated that it had credited the
testimony of the marshal, noting that her testimony conformed
with and expanded upon the information provided in her return
of service. Moreover, the court also found that the
defendant's testimony was ‘‘inconsistent and
appeal, the defendant argues that the court improperly denied
his motion to open the judgment of foreclosure by sale and to
dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction. We
first set forth the applicable legal principles and standard
of review that guide our analysis. ‘‘We review a
trial court's ruling on motions to open under an abuse of
discretion standard. . . . Under this standard, we give every
reasonable presumption in favor of a decision's
correctness and will disturb the decision only where the
trial court acted unreasonably or in a clear abuse of
discretion. (Citations omitted; internal quota- tion marks
omitted.) GMAC Mortgage, LLC v. Ford, 178
Conn.App. 287, 294-95, 175 A.3d 582 (2017).
‘‘[t]he Superior Court . . . may exercise
jurisdiction over a person only if that person has been
properly served with process, has consented to the
jurisdiction of the court or has waived any objection to the
court's exercise of personal jurisdiction. . . . When . .
. the defendant is a resident of Connecticut who claims that
no valid abode service has been made upon her that would give
the court jurisdiction over her person, the defendant bears
the burden of disproving personal jurisdiction. The general
rule putting the burden of proof on the defendant as to
jurisdictional issues raised is based on the presumption of
the truth of the matters stated in the officer's return.
When jurisdiction is based on personal or abode service, the
matters stated in the return, if true, confer ...