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Chase Home Finance, LLC v. Scroggin

Appellate Court of Connecticut

December 17, 2019

CHASE HOME FINANCE, LLC
v.
Daniel J. SCROGGIN

         Argued September 24, 2019

         The Superior Court, Judicial District of Middlesex, Aurigemma, J.

Page 1026

          Thomas P. Willcutts, with whom, on the brief, was Michael J. Habib, for the appellant (named defendant).

         Benjamin T. Staskiewicz, for the appellee (substitute plaintiff).

         Keller, Moll and Bishop, Js.

          OPINION

         MOLL, J.

         [194 Conn.App. 845] The defendant, Daniel J. Scroggin also known as Daniel F. Scroggin also known as Daniel Scroggin, appeals from the judgment of strict foreclosure rendered by the trial court, for the second time, in favor of the substitute plaintiff, AJX Mortgage Trust I, a Delaware Trust, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, [194 Conn.App. 846] FSB, Trustee.[1] The defendant makes the following

Page 1027

claims on appeal: (1) the trial court improperly failed to recuse itself pursuant to General Statutes § 51-183c following our remand in Chase Home Finance, LLC v. Scroggin, 178 Conn.App. 727, 176 A.3d 1210 (2017) (Chase I ); (2) the trial court erred by granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to liability only without hearing oral argument on that motion; and (3) the trial court erred in denying on timeliness grounds the defendant’s motion for an extension of time, filed pursuant to Practice Book § 17-47, to respond to the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. We agree with the defendant’s second claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.[2]

         [194 Conn.App. 847] We begin with an abbreviated recitation of the factual and procedural background of this dispute, as set forth by this court in Chase I . "In December, 2009, Chase commenced the present foreclosure action against the defendant. In its original one count complaint, Chase alleged, in relevant part, that on July 20, 2007, the defendant executed a promissory note in the amount of $217,500 in favor of Chase Bank USA, N.A., and that the loan was secured by a mortgage of the premises located at 25 Church Street in Portland, which was owned by and in the possession of the defendant. Chase alleged that the mortgage was recorded on the Portland land records, that the mortgage was assigned to it, and that it was the holder of the note and mortgage. Chase alleged that beginning on July 1, 2009, the defendant failed to make installment payments of principal and interest required by the note and that it had exercised its option to declare the entire unpaid balance of the note (in the amount of $214,939.97) due and payable to it.... By way of relief, Chase sought, among other things, a foreclosure of the mortgage and the immediate possession of the subject premises.

          "On June 7, 2010, Chase filed a motion for default for failure to plead. On that

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same day, Chase filed a motion for judgment of strict foreclosure and a finding that it was entitled to possession of the subject premises. On June 16, 2010, the clerk of the court granted the motion for default but, at that time, the court did not rule on the motion seeking a judgment of strict foreclosure.

          "On September 8, 2010, Chase filed a request for leave to amend its complaint and attached a proposed amended complaint. The defendant did not object. The [194 Conn.App. 848] amended complaint consisted of six counts. The first count brought against the defendant sought a foreclosure and generally was consistent with the allegations brought against the defendant in the original one count complaint .... The second, third, and fourth counts of the amended complaint were brought against Bank of America.... Counts five and six of the amended complaint, both of which were directed at the defendant, [were] related to Chase’s allegations with respect to Bank of America’s mortgage interest in the subject property....

          "At no time did the defendant move to set aside the default for failure to plead entered on June 16, 2010. On November 2, 2015, however, the defendant disclosed a defense, stating that he ‘intend[ed] to challenge the plaintiff’s alleged right and standing to foreclose upon the subject mortgage.’ On the same day, the defendant filed an answer to Chase’s original complaint.

          "The plaintiff did not file a motion for default for failure to plead against the defendant with respect to the amended complaint. On November 24, 2015, however, the plaintiff filed a motion for judgment against the defendant with respect to counts two, three, four, five, and six of the amended complaint. On the same day, the plaintiff moved that the court enter a judgment of strict foreclosure ....

          ‘‘On April 4, 2016, the defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s amended complaint. In his answer to the amended complaint, the defendant, among other things, admitted portions of the allegations made in the first count and, with respect to other portions of the first count, left the plaintiff to its proof. Also, on April 4, 2016, the defendant filed an objection to the plaintiff’s motion for judgment as to count six of the amended complaint and an objection to the plaintiff’s motion for judgment of strict foreclosure. On that date, the court [Aurigemma, J. ] held a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion [194 Conn.App. 849] for judgment. By order dated April 4, 2016, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for judgment with respect to counts two, three, four, and five of the amended complaint, but did not rule with respect to counts one or six of the amended complaint.

          "Following the hearing, the plaintiff replied to the defendant’s objection to its motion for judgment of strict foreclosure, and the defendant filed a memorandum of law in which he further articulated the reasons underlying his objection to the motion for judgment of strict foreclosure. At a hearing on April 18, 2016, the parties appeared and presented additional arguments [before Judge Aurigemma]....

          "The court granted the plaintiff’s motion for judgment of strict foreclosure ... and rendered judgment on count six of the plaintiff’s amended complaint in the plaintiff’s favor." ...


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