Peterson v. Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company
The plaintiff's withdrawal of her action against the sole owner of the property in question terminated her interest in the lis pendens on the property. The record, viewed most favorably to the plaintiff, Alyssa Peterson, revealed the following facts. Peterson and Hannah Woldeyohannes engaged an attorney and formed a partnership to purchase six condominium units. Before the partnership could enter into an agreement with the sellers, the units were conveyed to A to Zee, LLC, of which Woldeyohannes was the sole owner. Peterson commenced an action against Woldeyohannes and A to Zee and filed a notice of lis pendens on the land records. The plaintiff withdrew her claim against A to Zee. A to Zee sold two units. Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company issued title insurance policies for those units. The new owners filed applications to discharge the lis pendens. The court ordered the notice discharged concluding that the lis pendens was invalid, including because the withdrawal of the action against A to Zee effectively released the lis pendens. The plaintiff obtained a default judgment against Woldeyohannes in the first action and was awarded damages. She commenced this action alleging against Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company, negligence, aiding and abetting fraud and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, C.G.S. §42-110a, in issuing the policies. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant. The plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The plaintiff unsuccessfully claimed, first, that it was improper for the court to rely on the judgment discharging the lis pendens in considering the motion. The court's judgment discharging the lis pendens was a valid and final judgment by which the plaintiff and court were bound. No timely appeal was filed and the Appellate Court declined to revisit the merits of that prior judgment. The trial court correctly concluded that the plaintiff's withdrawal of the first action against A to Zee was dispositive of her claims in this case. When the plaintiff withdrew her action against the sole owner, no claim remained against the owner of the properties subject to the lis pendens. The defendant, conducting title searches thereafter, was entitled to rely on the land records and the withdrawal of the action against the properties' owner.