Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes, AC 38469

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtPRESCOTT, J.
Citation174 Conn.App. 608,166 A.3d 873
Parties CATHEDRAL GREEN, INC. v. Dorothy HUGHES et al.
Docket NumberAC 38469
Decision Date18 July 2017

174 Conn.App. 608
166 A.3d 873

CATHEDRAL GREEN, INC.
v.
Dorothy HUGHES et al.

AC 38469

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued March 28, 2017
Officially released July 18, 2017


Sally R. Zanger, with whom was Katrina R. Cessna, for the appellant (named defendant).

James P. Sexton, with whom were Matthew C. Eagan and, on the brief, Michael H. Clinton, for the appellee (plaintiff).

DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Mullins, Js.

PRESCOTT, J.

174 Conn.App. 610

The present appeal arises from a summary process action that initially was settled in November, 2014, by way of a stipulated judgment. In accordance with that stipulation, the court rendered a judgment of possession in favor of the plaintiff, Cathedral Green, Inc., execution of which it stayed through the end of January, 2017. During the stay, the plaintiff agreed to allow the defendant, Dorothy Hughes, and her minor child to remain in the defendant's apartment provided that, inter alia, the defendant no longer allow William Moore, her child's father and a nonparty to the lease, to have access to the premises, which included both the apartment and the common areas of the property.1 The defendant now appeals from the trial court's postjudgment ruling of October 5, 2015, in which the court found that the defendant wilfully had violated the terms of the stipulated judgment. As a result, the court ordered execution of the judgment of possession.2 The

174 Conn.App. 611

defendant

166 A.3d 876

claims on appeal that the court improperly (1) relied upon facts that were not in evidence or that were not supported by the record, and (2) failed to adjudicate properly the defendant's equitable nonforfeiture defense.3 We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The following facts, which the court either set forth in its decision or are undisputed, and procedural history are relevant to our resolution of the defendant's claims. The defendant is a single mother who resides with her minor daughter in a subsidized apartment that is part of a housing complex, Cathedral Green, owned and operated by the plaintiff. In June, 2014, the plaintiff commenced the underlying action seeking to evict the defendant on the ground that she violated the terms of her lease. In particular, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant had allowed Moore to reside in the apartment despite the fact that he was not an authorized occupant under the lease. Further, the plaintiff alleged that Moore had "been coming and going on several occasions using the defendant's keys to enter the premises and has a lot of visitors meeting him briefly at the premises on several occasions during the day and night to transact illegal drug sales." According to the plaintiff, the defendant failed to cure the lease violations after she was notified of them by the plaintiff.

On November 25, 2014, the date set for the summary process trial, the parties, each of whom was represented by counsel, filed a joint motion for a stipulated judgment, which was accepted by the court, Woods, J . According to the parties' stipulation, the defendant

174 Conn.App. 612

agreed to pay reasonable use and occupancy payments going forward, and to repay $890 in unpaid rent in accordance with a repayment plan the parties agreed to "work out" by the end of the following month and to present to the court as a modification of the parties' stipulated agreement. The stipulation also provided that the defendant agreed to abide by all of the terms, rules, and conditions contained in the original lease with the plaintiff except as specifically modified by the terms of the stipulation.

Of particular relevance to the present appeal, the defendant agreed in the stipulated judgment to the following: "[S]he shall not allow or permit [Moore] to enter her unit or accompany her in the common areas of the property, including all outside areas and the parking lot. The defendant agrees that [Moore] is a trespasser and both Catholic Family Charities and [the Department of Children and Families] agree that [Moore] should not be allowed on the plaintiff's premises. As such, [the] defendant shall have an affirmative obligation to call the police should he enter the premises or the common areas in her presence. Further, the defendant agrees that if [Moore] is to visit the defendant's minor daughter, the visit or transfer shall occur off of the plaintiff's premises, including the common areas, driveway and parking lots. [The defendant] agrees that [the] plaintiff may treat [Moore] as a trespasser and call the police to keep him off of the premises." If the defendant was able to make all payments, as agreed, and to comply with all the other conditions of the stipulation, the plaintiff agreed to reinstate her as a tenant in good standing "on the earlier of the first day of the second month following full payment or February 1, 2017, but in no event sooner than December 31, 2015."

166 A.3d 877

On July 27, 2015, however, the plaintiff filed an affidavit with the court noting the defendant's noncompliance with the terms of the stipulated judgment and seeking

174 Conn.App. 613

an order of execution. The affidavit, signed by the plaintiff's property manager, Crystal Wise, stated that, despite the defendant's promise not to allow Moore on the premises, Moore had been observed "coming and going into the defendant's apartment and on the premises with the [defendant's] knowledge and acquiesce[nce]."

The court scheduled a hearing on the plaintiff's request for execution, which took place on September 8, 2015. At that hearing, the court heard testimony from the defendant; Wise; Kimberly May–Bailey, the director of community services at Catholic Charities, which oversees program services provided to some of Cathedral Green's tenants;4 and Michelle Simon, a senior family specialist at Catholic Charities assigned to Cathedral Green.

May–Bailey testified that she and Simon observed Moore on the premises on July 9, 2015, after the stipulated judgment was in effect. She recounted that they were in the office at Cathedral Green when they received a phone call from a tenant regarding an issue at the playground. The women found the defendant's daughter at the playground unattended and escorted her back to the defendant's apartment because children were not supposed to play at the playground unattended. At that time, May–Bailey and Simon observed Moore inside the defendant's apartment with the defendant. When they confronted the defendant with the fact that his presence violated the stipulation, the defendant indicated that she was preparing Moore a birthday dinner. The women alerted the property manager of Moore's presence.

174 Conn.App. 614

Wise testified regarding photographs that were taken from security camera video footage which showed Moore following the defendant into the premises on July 3, 2015. Wise was familiar with Moore and could identify him in the photographs because of an encounter she had with him in early June, 2015, when he attempted to enter the premises allegedly to deliver a birthday present and she was alerted by a maintenance worker and asked him to leave. The court admitted three of the five photographs into evidence.

In her own testimony, the defendant acknowledged that she had signed the stipulated agreement in this matter with the assistance of an attorney, who had advised her regarding the terms of the agreement. She never informed her attorney that she did not understand the agreement. She admitted that the defendant was in her apartment with her on July 9, 2015. She never disputed that she had been preparing Moore a dinner for his birthday or suggested that he had shown up at the apartment uninvited. She also admitted that he was on the premises on other dates, including on July 3, 2015, when he followed her into the building, and that she had never, at any time, called the police to have him removed from the premises.

The court granted the defendant's request to file a posthearing brief, with a reply from the plaintiff to follow. The defendant filed her brief on September 15, 2015, and the plaintiff filed its reply on September 23, 2015.

In her posttrial memorandum, the defendant argued that the doctrine of equitable nonforfeiture should bar dispossession

166 A.3d 878

in this case because, even if the defendant violated the stipulated judgment, the harm to the defendant and her child in losing their rent-subsidized housing and the attendant stability it afforded far out-weighed any harm to the plaintiff, which harm she characterized as being limited to the inconvenience of

174 Conn.App. 615

having to make phone calls to the police to keep Moore off of the premises.

The plaintiff took the position that the court was bound to enforce a validly rendered stipulated judgment and that, because the evidence demonstrated that the defendant...

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6 practice notes
  • Lederle v. Spivey, AC 37755
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 18, 2017
    ...basis of the claim might be established. For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding 174 Conn.App. 608attorney's fees pursuant to 166 A.3d 646the bad faith exception of the American rule because the court did not apply the standard set forth......
  • Puklich v. Puklich, No. 20180301
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • June 27, 2019
    ...in the lower court’s decision. See Hawkins v. Williams , 314 P.3d 1202, 1206 (Alaska 2013) ; Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes , 174 Conn.App. 608, 166 A.3d 873, 880 (2017) ; In re P.S. , 330 Mont. 239, 127 P.3d 451, 457 (2006) ; cf. Ludwig v. Burchill , 514 N.W.2d 674, 677 (N.D. 1994) (nonsu......
  • Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Sheldon, AC 43704
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 5, 2021
    ...unreasonable or indicative of bad faith." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes , 174 Conn. App. 608, 622–23, 166 A.3d 873 (2017).264 A.3d 118 We conclude that the court's finding was not clearly erroneous. Wilfulness reasonably can be i......
  • Boccanfuso v. Daghoghi, AC 40559
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 1, 2019
    ...is a question of law subject to our plenary review ...." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes , 174 Conn. App. 608, 619, 166 A.3d 873 (2017). With respect to the issue of whether the court committed error in applying the correct legal standard to the uniq......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Lederle v. Spivey, AC 37755
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 18, 2017
    ...basis of the claim might be established. For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding 174 Conn.App. 608attorney's fees pursuant to 166 A.3d 646the bad faith exception of the American rule because the court did not apply the standard set forth......
  • Puklich v. Puklich, No. 20180301
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • June 27, 2019
    ...in the lower court’s decision. See Hawkins v. Williams , 314 P.3d 1202, 1206 (Alaska 2013) ; Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes , 174 Conn.App. 608, 166 A.3d 873, 880 (2017) ; In re P.S. , 330 Mont. 239, 127 P.3d 451, 457 (2006) ; cf. Ludwig v. Burchill , 514 N.W.2d 674, 677 (N.D. 1994) (nonsu......
  • Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Sheldon, AC 43704
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 5, 2021
    ...unreasonable or indicative of bad faith." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes , 174 Conn. App. 608, 622–23, 166 A.3d 873 (2017).264 A.3d 118 We conclude that the court's finding was not clearly erroneous. Wilfulness reasonably can be i......
  • Boccanfuso v. Daghoghi, AC 40559
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 1, 2019
    ...is a question of law subject to our plenary review ...." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Cathedral Green, Inc. v. Hughes , 174 Conn. App. 608, 619, 166 A.3d 873 (2017). With respect to the issue of whether the court committed error in applying the correct legal standard to the uniq......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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