EQUITY ONE, INC. v. THOMAS J. SHIVERS, SC 18775
Judicial District of Tolland
Foreclosure; Standing; Evidentiary Hearings; Whether the Trial Court Improperly Failed to Conduct an Evidentiary Hearing to Determine Whether the Plaintiff Lacked Standing to Bring a Foreclosure Action. In 2007, the plaintiff initiated this action, seeking to foreclose a mortgage that it held on certain real property that is owned by the defendant. The defendant was defaulted for failure to plead, and the trial court subsequently rendered a judgment of foreclosure by sale. After the foreclosure sale did not go forward as scheduled, the plaintiff filed a motion to open and to reenter the judgment. The defendant objected, arguing that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue the foreclosure action because it was not the holder of the note at the time that it initiated the action. After a hearing, the court rendered a judgment of strict foreclosure. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the trial court improperly failed to conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the foreclosure action. The Appellate Court (125 Conn. App. 201) agreed, determining that the trial court never held an evidentiary hearing regarding the standing issue even though the defendant specifically raised the issue on multiple occasions. The Appellate Court acknowledged that, during the hearing on the plaintiff's motion to open, the trial court concluded that the plaintiff had standing to bring the action. It emphasized, however, that this conclusion was merely based upon a brief colloquy between the trial court and the plaintiff's attorney in which the latter gave an original copy of the note to the defendant and stated his belief that the note was provided to the court at the time of the original judgment. It further decided that because the trial court did not specifically determine whether the plaintiff was the holder of the note at the time that it commenced the action, it failed to find the requisite facts necessary to ascertain whether it had subject matter jurisdiction over the action. Accordingly, the Appellate Court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the matter for an evidentiary hearing regarding the standing issue. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court's decision was correct.