Aguinaldo v. Warner
A court has authority to order the passing of legal title pursuant to Connecticut General Statute §52-22, when, in the court's judgment, such a transfer of title "is the proper mode to carry" its decree into effect. Mary Ellen Warner, through the decree dissolving her marriage to Donald Warner, acquired the marital residence subject to an existing first mortgage and a second mortgage in favor of Donald Warner. She paid off the original mortgage with financing. The new first mortgage went into default. Ameripath Mortgage Corporation commenced a foreclosure action against Mary Ellen and Donald Warner. Mary Ellen Warner purportedly transferred title to Donald Warner. He paid off the Ameripath mortgage with borrowed funds and that mortgage went into default. A foreclosure sale ensued. Before approval, Donald Warner purportedly conveyed the premises to Arnel Aguinaldo, by warranty deed. Aguinaldo mortgaged the premises to Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. and commenced this summary process action against Mary Ellen Warner. Her special defense alleged that the plaintiff could not evict her because he was not the legal owner, having procured titled from Donald Warner via a forged document. Following a bench trial, the court agreed with the special defense and rendered judgment for the defendant. Saxon Mortgage commenced a quiet title action. The defendant filed a motion in the summary process action, six months post-judgment, seeking a decree under C.G.S. §52-22 for legal title to pass to her. The court granted the motion and declared the defendant legal title holder to the premises. The plaintiff appealed challenging the application of C.G.S. §52-22. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment. A court may exercise its equitable powers under C.G.S. §52-22 when it has rendered a judgment affecting title to property, the enforcement of which has somehow been hindered or frustrated. Summary process actions do not concern the question of legal title to the subject premises, except to the limited extent that it affects any party's right to immediate possession. After the court rendered judgment finding that the plaintiff had no legal right to evict the defendant, the defendant remained in possession. No event occurred that hindered or frustrated her continuing right to do so. Therefore, the entry of the decree was improper because it was unnecessary to carry the court's judgment into effect.