May 13, 2019
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 Fairfield;
thereafter, MTGLQ Investors, L.P., was substituted as the
plaintiff; subsequently, the named defendant was defaulted
for failure to plead; thereafter, the court, Hon. Alfred
J. Jennings, Jr., judge trial referee, granted the
motion filed by the substitute plaintiff for a judgment of
strict foreclosure and rendered judgment thereon, from which
the named defendant appealed to this court. Reversed;
Joseph, self-represented, the appellant (named defendant).
Benjamin T. Staskiewicz, for the appellee (substitute
Lavine, Keller and Harper, Js.
self-represented defendant, Maud Joseph, appeals from the
judgment of strict foreclosure rendered by the trial court in
favor of the plaintiff, MTGLQ Investors, L.P.
(MTGLQ). On appeal, the defendant claims that the
court (1) lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the
named plaintiff, Ditech Financial, LLC (Ditech), lacked
standing to commence this action, (2) improperly granted
Ditech's motion to substitute, (3) lacked authority to
render a judgment of strict foreclosure, and (4) improperly
denied her motion for reargument. Because the resolution of
the defendant's first claim as to standing is dependent
on disputed factual findings that cannot be resolved due to
an inadequate appellate record, and because this claim
implicates the subject matter jurisdiction of the trial
court, we are unable to review the merits of this appeal. We
therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand
the case for further proceedings.
briefly set forth the procedural history and facts relevant
to this appeal. On October 27, 2016, Ditech commenced this
action alleging that the defendant and Manita Cenat (Cenat)
executed and delivered to Countrywide Bank, FSB, a note for a
loan in the principal amount of $140, 000 (note). To secure
the note, Ditech alleged that the defendant and Cenat
executed a mortgage dated December 12, 2007, for property
located at 116 North Bishop Avenue in Bridgeport. Ditech
alleged that it was the holder of the note and that the note
was in default. Accordingly, it elected to accelerate the
balance due, declared the balance due infull, and sought to
foreclose the mortgage securing the note.
11, 2017, the defendant and Cenat filed jointly a motion to
dismiss arguing that the court lacked personal jurisdiction
over them because service of process was not properly
effectuated. By order dated June 7, 2017, the court denied
the defendant's motion. The court concluded that the
defendant had not sustained her burden of overcoming the
presumption of the truth of the facts stated in the return of
service attested to by the marshal.
discussed in footnote 1 of this opinion, Ditech filed a
motion to substitute MTGLQ as the plaintiff on June 22, 2017,
representing that it had assigned the subject mortgage deed
and note, including the cause of action, to MTGLQ. The
defendant filed an objection to Ditech's motion to
substitute arguing, inter alia, that the assignment was not
made while the action was pending and that Ditech lacked
standing in the first instance. The court granted
Ditech's motion on July 13, 2017. In addressing the
defendant's objection, it concluded that the assignment
took place thirty-nine days after this action commenced and,
thus, it overruled the defendant's objection. The court
did not address the defendant's standing argument and
stated: ‘‘Defendant's challenge to Ditech
Financial's standing to commence this action is not
properly raised in an objection to motion to substitute. See
Practice Book § 10-30.''
September 22, 2017, the plaintiff filed a motion for default
for failure to plead arguing that the defendant and Cenat had
failed to plead within the time required by Practice Book
§ 10-8. That same day, the plaintiff filed a motion for
judgment of strict foreclosure.
September 29, 2017, pursuant to Practice Book § 10-35,
both the defendant and Cenat filed requests to revise the
plaintiff's complaint. The plaintiff filed an objection
to the requests of the defendant and Cenat to revise on
October 5, 2017. On October 23, 2017, the court sustained all
of the plaintiff's objections.
November 22, 2017, despite the defendant having filed her
request to revise, which is a responsive plead-ing,
September 29, 2017, the clerk granted the plaintiff's
September 22, 2017 motion ...