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Foreclosure Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Penn, Michele

 

SC20041 - Rockstone Capital, LLC v. Sanzo ("If a creditor forecloses on a debtor's home, the debtor might be entitled to keep a portion of the home's value, whatever the amount of the debt. This debtor protection, known as the homestead exemption, is available when the creditor forecloses on a judgment lien, but not on a consensual lien. See General Statutes § 52-352b (t). In this case, the plaintiff, Rockstone Capital, LLC (Rockstone), held judgment liens against the defendants John Sanzo and Maria Sanzo. The parties later agreed to a consensual lien in the form of a mortgage to secure the debt. Now, the Sanzos have defaulted on the mortgage payments, and Rockstone seeks to foreclose on the mortgage. The primary issue on appeal is whether the Sanzos are entitled to the homestead exemption. We conclude they are not.

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The Sanzos petitioned this court for certification to appeal, which we granted, limited to the following issues: "1. Did the Appellate Court properly conclude that the appeal and cross appeal were taken from a final judgment of the trial court? 2. If the answer to the first question is yes, did the Appellate Court properly conclude that the plaintiff's postjudgment mortgage encumbering the same property and the same debt as the plaintiff's judgment liens was a consensual lien, and not a de facto waiver of the homestead exemption; see General Statutes § 52-352b (t); that would be void as a matter of public policy?" Rockstone Capital, LLC v. Sanzo, 327 Conn. 968, 173 A.3d 391 (2017). We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court with respect to its conclusions that the appeal was taken from a final judgment and that the mortgage was a consensual lien. We conclude that certification was improvidently granted with respect to whether the cross appeal was taken from a final judgment and dismiss that portion of the appeal.")