The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Landlord/Tenant Law Appellate Court Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


AC42747 - Nationstar Mortgage, LLC v. Gabriel (Summary process; return of service; whether trial court properly denied motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; "In this summary process action, the defendants . . . appeal from the judgment of possession rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, as well as from the court's denials of their postjudgment motions to open and to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On appeal, the defendants limit their challenge to the court's denial of their motion to dismiss. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. . .

In the present case, there was no genuine dispute as to any jurisdictional fact necessary to find that the defendants had been served with the notice to quit. The record before the court revealed that all defendants had been served. First, the marshal's return of service was prima facie evidence that each defendant had been served, at a minimum, by abode service.See Jenkins v. Bishop Apartments, Inc., 144 Conn. 389, 390, 132 A.2d 573 (1957) ('[t]he return is prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein'). Second, as a result of the entry of default against the defendants for their failure to plead, all material facts in the complaint were deemed admitted. See Catalina v. Nicolelli, 90 Conn. App. 219, 221, 876 A.2d 588 (2005). Such allegations included the following: 'On January 21, 2019, the plaintiff caused a notice to be duly served on the defendants to quit possession of the premises on or before January 30, 2019, as required by law. The original notice to quit is attached hereto and marked [as] exhibit A.' As the trial court correctly observed, the affidavit of Stephen Gabriel, which was the only evidence that the defendants submitted in support of their motion to dismiss, did nothing to create a genuine dispute as to any pertinent jurisdictional fact. The affidavit merely acknowledges that Stephen Gabriel was in fact served and makes no statement based on any personal knowledge that the other defendants were not served. The averment in the affidavit stating that Stephen Gabriel received only one copy has little, if any, probative value, as only one copy of the notice to quit was necessary to effect service on him, and there was no representation made in the marshal's return of service that seven copies were left with Stephen Gabriel. Finally, and perhaps most notably, there was no affidavit or other documentation from any defendant to demonstrate that he or she had not been served in any manner. In light of the foregoing, the court was not required to hold an evidentiary hearing before ruling on the defendants' motion to dismiss. Because there was ample evidence to support the court's finding that the defendants were served with the notice to quit, the court properly denied the motion to dismiss.

The judgment is affirmed.")