November 29, 2018
from the Superior Court, Judicial District of
Stamford-Norwalk, Mintz, J., A. William Mottolese, Judge
B. Connor, for the appellant (defendant Theresa Ponger).
J. Picard, Hartford, for the appellee (plaintiff).
C. J., and Moll and Sullivan, Js.
Conn.App. 77] The defendant Theresa Ponger appeals from a
judgment of strict foreclosure rendered by the [191 Conn.App.
78] trial court. On appeal, the defendants principal
claim is that the court erred when it concluded that the
plaintiff, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee,
in Trust, for Registered Holders of Long Beach Mortgage Loan
Trust 2006-WL3, Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006-WL3,
had provided notice of default and acceleration to her when
it sent notice to the subject property addressed to her
former spouse, Joseph R. Ponger (Ponger), who no longer
resided at the property. Because the court correctly held
that the notice requirement under the mortgage was satisfied
because notice to one joint tenant or joint obligor
constitutes notice to the others, we affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
parties stipulated to the following relevant facts. On
September 7, 2005, Ponger executed a note in favor of Long
Beach Mortgage Company in the principal amount of $420,000.
The note was endorsed in blank and supplied to the plaintiff
prior to the commencement of this action. Also on September
7, 2005, Ponger and the defendant executed a mortgage deed in
favor of Long Beach Mortgage Company on property located at
23 Macintosh Road, Norwalk. The mortgage was recorded in the
Norwalk land records on September 13, 2005. The plaintiff
is the present holder of the note.
about December 6, 2013, by letter addressed to Ponger at 23
Macintosh Road, Norwalk, Connecticut [191 Conn.App. 79]
06857, the plaintiff advised him that the note and mortgage
were in default due to his failure to make the required
monthly payments. Notice of the aforementioned default
was not addressed to the defendant. In the absence of a cure
of the default, the plaintiff elected to accelerate the
amount due under the note. On April 15, 2014, the plaintiff
provided Ponger and the defendant notice of their rights
under the General
Statutes as they relate to the Emergency Mortgage Assistance
Program. See General Statutes § 8-265cc et seq. The record
further indicates that Ponger failed to make payments
pursuant to the note from July 1, 2013, to the date of the
joint stipulation, May 9, 2017.
present action was commenced on October 13, 2015,
approximately eighteen months after the Emergency Mortgage
Assistance Program notice was mailed to the subject property.
On May 5, 2016, after the expiration of the court approved
foreclosure mediation period, the defendant filed a timely
answer asserting, as a special defense, that the plaintiff
had failed to provide her with proper notice of default and
acceleration. Thereafter, on June 2, 2016, the plaintiff
filed a motion for summary judgment as to both Ponger and the
defendant. The court granted the motion with respect to
Ponger but denied the motion with respect to the defendant.
On May 16, 2017, the parties filed a joint stipulation of
facts with the court as to the remaining [191 Conn.App. 80]
issues in dispute. On September 6, 2017, the court issued its
memorandum of decision finding in favor of the plaintiff. The
court determined that "[r]esolution of this issue is
controlled squarely by Citicorp Mortgage, Inc. v.
Porto, 41 Conn.App. 598, 600-604, 677 A.2d 10
(1996)," and, thus, concluded in relevant part
that the "notice of default and acceleration was sent to
[the defendant] as a joint tenant of the mortgaged property
and a joint obligor on the mortgage deed." Thereafter,
the court rendered judgment of strict foreclosure against
both Ponger and the defendant, and set the law day for
January 16, 2018. This appeal followed. Additional facts and
procedural history will be set forth as necessary.
defendants principal claim on appeal is that the court erred
when it concluded that the notice requirement provision of
the subject mortgage had been satisfied as to the defendant
when the plaintiff provided notice addressed exclusively to
Ponger. Specifically, the defendant claims
that, because she is a "[b]orrower" under the terms
of the mortgage, and because the notice provision of the
mortgage requires notice of default and acceleration to be
given to the "[b]orrower," the [191 Conn.App. 81]
plaintiff was required to provide her individually with
notice. The defendant further claims that the court
improperly applied the legal principles set forth in
Citicorp Mortgage, Inc. v.Porto, supra, ...