Selene Finance, L.P. v. Tornatore
Because the defendant did not appear and claim at the hearing on his motion to open the judgment of strict foreclosure, that title to the property had not vested in the plaintiff or that abode service of the summons and complaint was somehow improper, the court could grant the motion in accord with C.G.S. §49-15(a)(2) only upon the agreement of the parties. The plaintiff, Selene Finance, L.P., holder of a mortgage and note on property owned by the defendant, John Tornatore, initiated foreclosure proceedings. The marshal left a true and attested verified copy of the notice, summons and complaint at the property. The court granted the plaintiff's motion for default for failure to appear and for judgment of strict foreclosure. The defendant failed to redeem the property. He filed a motion to open the judgment of strict foreclosure. In affidavits in support of the motion, the defendant claimed he was not served with the complaint and did not receive notice of the plaintiff's motions. The defendant's counsel failed to appear at the hearing on the motion to open. Plaintiff's counsel appeared and objected to the motion arguing that title to the property had vested in the plaintiff. The court denied the motion to open and awarded the plaintiff $150 in attorneys' fees. The defendant appealed claiming that the court improperly denied his motion and awarded attorneys' fees. He argued that he did not have proper notice of the foreclosure proceedings. The Appellate Court was not persuaded and affirmed the judgment. At the hearing on the motion, the defendant did not claim that title to the property had not vested in the plaintiff or that the abode service of the summons and complaint was somehow improper. The Appellate Court declined to consider his improper attempts to raise those claims on appeal. Under the circumstances, and in accord with C.G.S. §49-15(a)(2), the trial court could grant the defendant's motion only upon agreement of the parties. As the record reflected that there was no such agreement, the court properly denied the motion. The trial court's award of attorneys' fees to the plaintiff was reasonable and was not an abuse of its discretion.