Quinto v. Boccanfusco
As explained in the 2007 Appellate Court case of Wilcox v. Ferraina, "[a] plaintiff suing under the forcible entry and detainer statute must prove his actual possession of the land or property from which he claims to have been dispossessed…" The defendants, Crescienzo and Giuseppe Boccanfusco, acquired title to certain commercial property in Bridgeport previously owned by the plaintiff, Vincent Quinto, as the successful purchasers at a court-ordered sale to foreclose municipal tax liens. The court approved the committee sale. After the return of sale and proceeds were submitted to the court, the defendants entered the property. They found the gates open and building unsecured. They began removing unregistered vehicles and ordered a dumpster to dispose of debris such as washing machines and bathtubs from the yard and garbage and debris from the building. They secured the property with locks. Vincent Quinto arrived and claimed he still owned the land, building and personal property. Quinto and Approved Purification filed these entry and detainer actions pursuant to C.G.S. §47a-43. The cases were consolidated for trial. Quinto testified that he resided on the property since May 2011. The court found his claim not credible "considering the deplorable condition of the premises and lack of any objective evidence to indicate human habitation." The court found, inter alia, that the building was unfit for human habitation, was not serviced by utilities for years and the corporation had ceased business operations there. The court concluded that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they exercised dominion and control over the property and dismissed the actions. The plaintiffs appealed challenging the trial court's conclusions that they had abandoned the property and were not in actual possession when the defendants entered. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgments. The trial court determined that Quinto was not a resident of the property on the operative date and both plaintiffs failed to make the requisite showing that they exercised sufficient dominion and control over the property to find actual possession within the meaning of C.G.S. §47a-43. These findings were amply supported by the record and it could not be said that the trial court's finding that the plaintiffs were not in actual possession was clearly erroneous. The Appellate Court declined to reweigh the evidence.