Doran v. First Connecticut Capital, LLC
In its 2012 decision in Coyle Crete, LLC v. Nevins, the Appellate Court explained that "collateral estoppel precludes a party from relitigating issues and facts actually and necessarily determined in an earlier proceeding between the same parties or those in privity with them upon a different claim…" John Doran filed a complaint against First Connecticut Capital, LLC, and eight partial assignees of a note and mortgage, alleging that he borrowed $270,400 from Wells Fargo Bank to acquire land in Deep River. He obtained a construction loan of $925,000 from First Connecticut and a mortgage for the land secured the debt. Disbursement of the money from First Connecticut was subject to a construction draw schedule. First Connecticut refused the plaintiff's July 24, 2007 request for a disbursement claiming he was in default for failing to pay interest due under the loan agreement. Additional financial difficulties ensued and the house was never completed. The plaintiff's three count complaint alleged breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, C.G.S. §42-110a. The defendants filed an answer with special defenses and moved for summary judgment on their special defenses of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The trial court granted the defendants' motion concluding that the court in the prior uncontested foreclosure action brought by First Connecticut against the plaintiff necessarily decided that the note was in default on June 1st, 2007. The plaintiff was collaterally estopped from relitigating the issue upon which his entire complaint depended because if the plaintiff was in default under the note on June 1st 2007, First Connecticut had no obligation to advance further funds on July 24, 2007. The plaintiff appealed, pro se. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The trial court properly applied the doctrine of collateral estoppel and granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the question of whether the mortgage and note were in default as of June 1, 2007, during the foreclosure action. The issue of whether the plaintiff was in default was actually decided and necessary to the judgment in the foreclosure action.