WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.
THOMASJ. FERRARO ET AL.
October 8, 2019
to foreclose a mortgage on certain real property owned by the
named defendant et al., and for other relief, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford,
where Wilmington Trust, National Association, as trustee for
MFRA Trust 2015-2, was substituted as the plaintiff;
thereafter, the court, Hon. John W. Moran, judge
trial referee, granted the substitute plaintiff's motion
for summary judgment asto liability; subsequently, the court
granted the substitute plaintiff's motion for a judgment
of strict foreclosure and rendered judgment thereon, from
which the named defendant et al. appealed to this court.
Reversed; further proceedings.
William J. Whewell, with whom, on the brief, was Dorian D.
Arbelaez, for the appellants (named defendant et al.).
Benjamin T. Staskiewicz, for the appellee (substi- tute
Devlin and Sheldon, Js.
defendants Thomas J. Ferraro and Danielle
Ferraro appeal from the judgment of strict
foreclosure rendered by the trial court in favor of the
substitute plaintiff, Wilmington Trust, National Association,
as trustee for MFRA Trust 2015-2. The defendants claim that
the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment as to
liability in favor of the plaintiff after it held an
evidentiary hearing, and weighed and relied on the evidence
adduced at that hearing, in resolving an issue of material
fact in favor of the plaintiff. We reverse the judgment of
the trial court.
1, 2013, the original plaintiff, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
(Wells Fargo), filed this foreclosure action alleging that
the defendants had executed a promissory note and mortgage on
certain property in its favor and that the defendants had
defaulted on the note. The plaintiff thereafter filed a
motion for summary judgment as to liability only on the
foreclosure complaint against the defendants, arguing that
there was no genuine issue as to any material fact and,
therefore, that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. In response, the defendants filed an objection on the
ground that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to
whether Wells Fargo had complied with the notice provisions
of the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP), General
Statutes § 8-265cc et seq.
12, 2018, the court held an evidentiary hearing
‘‘limited to a singular issue by virtue of the
defendants' objection to [the] plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment dated May 14, 2018, raising an objection
based on a-whether it was proper service of the EMAP
notice.'' At that hearing, the plaintiff presented
the live testimony of two witnesses and introduced five
exhibits into evidence in support of its contention that it
had complied with the notice provisions of EMAP. Both of the
defendants testified that they did not receive an EMAP
conclusion of the hearing, the court held in relevant part:
‘‘Based on the credible testimony and the
evidence, the court finds that there has been full compliance
with [General Statutes §] 8-265ee.'' On that
basis, the court determined that there was no genuine issue
of material fact and thus granted summary judgment as to
liability only in favor of the plaintiff. The court
thereafter granted the plaintiff's motion for judgment of
strict foreclosure, from which the defendants now appeal.
appeal, the defendants claim that the trial court improperly
permitted, considered and relied on live testimony from
witnesses at an evidentiary hearing on the plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment. We agree.
court's decision in Magee Avenue, LLC v. Lima Ceramic
Tile, LLC, 183 Conn.App. 575, 579-80, 193
700 (2018), is dispositive of the defendants' claim on
appeal. In holding that the trial court improperly permitted
and considered live testimony during the hearing on the
motion for summary judgment, the court in Magee
Avenue, LLC, set forth the following reasoning:
‘‘The fundamental purpose of summary judgment is
preventing unnecessary trials. . . . If evidentiary
presentations and testimony were to be permitted, the intent
to reduce litigation costs by way of the summary judgment
procedure would be undermined, and there may as well be a
trial on the merits. . . . A summary judgment should be
summary; that is, made ina prompt, simple manner without a
full-scale trial. ...