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Foreclosure Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


SC20660 - Strazza Building & Construction, Inc. v. Harris ("In Girolametti v. Michael Horton Associates, Inc., 332 Conn. 67, 87, 208 A.3d 1223 (2019), this court held that, when a property owner and a general contractor have resolved disputes arising from a construction project by way of binding arbitration, there arises a rebuttable presumption that the general contractor and its subcontractors are in privity for purposes of res judicata in any subsequent litigation. In this certified appeal, we must determine whether the Appellate Court correctly applied Girolametti to the facts of the present case, in which a general contractor had sued the property owner to foreclose two mechanic's liens it served on the owner, claiming unpaid balances for labor and materials stemming from renovations it began on the owner's home. In particular, we consider whether the Appellate Court properly upheld the trial court's denial of the property owner's motion for summary judgment, declining to give preclusive effect to the findings of the trial court in a prior action between the owner and one of the general contractor's subcontractors. We agree with the Appellate Court that the presumption of privity that we held to apply in Girolametti does not apply in the present case, in which a property owner seeks to bind a general contractor to a prior judgment against a subcontractor. We also agree that the trial court correctly denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment because there remains an issue of material fact as to whether the doctrine of res judicata applies to the facts of this case.

. . . The judgment of the Appellate Court is affirmed.")