Harris v. First Nat. Bank & Trust Co. of New Haven

Decision Date26 May 1953
Citation97 A.2d 260,139 Conn. 749
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesHARRIS v. FIRST NAT. BANK & TRUST CO. OF NEW HAVEN et al. In re CALANDRO'S ESTATE. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Nelson Harris, New Haven, with whom, on the brief, was Leonard J. Gilhuly, New Haven, for appellant (plaintiff).

Frederick L. Greenberg, New Haven, for appellee (named defendant).

Before BROWN, C. J., BALDWIN, INGLIS and O'SULLIVAN, JJ., and QUINLAN, Superior Court Judge.

BALDWIN, Associate Justice.

The plaintiff, as trustee of the bankrupt estate of Santella Calandro, instituted this suit against Marvin C. Gold, Annette E. P. Gold, and The First National Bank and Trust Company of New Haven, hereinafter referred to as the bank. The allegations of the complaint, stated briefly, were: Michael J. Faugno brought an action of foreclosure against Calandro for an indebtedness of $1098.30. The bank was made a party defendant in the action because it had a lien on Calandro's property. A judgment was entered fixing May 20 and 21, 1952, as the law days for Calandro and the bank, respectively. On April 21, 1952, Calandro was adjudicated a bankrupt. At the first meeting of his creditors, held before the referee in bankruptcy in the forenoon of May 21, the defendant Annette Gold, although she did not represent any creditor and had no legal right to act, nominated her office associate, Milton Bernblum, as trustee of the bankrupt estate, and he was appointed. At this meeting, Annette Gold learned that the bank did not intend to redeem its interest. Immediately after the meeting, an attorney representing Calandro communicated to the defendant Gold and to Bernblum an offer of $5000 for the property in question from Peter Young, a real estate agent. It was Bernblum's duty as trustee, acting in good faith, to attempt at once to secure a reopening of the foreclosure judgment in order to salvage the equity in the property of the bankrupt for the benefit of the bankrupt estate. Instead, the Golds, seeing an opportunity to make a profit for themselves, induced Bernblum to refrain from making any effort to reopen the judgment and from advising the bankruptcy court of the offer from Young. The Golds arranged with the bank to purchase its lien for $150 and to take title thereto by quitclaim deed in their own name, which deed they immediately recorded. They arranged further with the bank to redeem the property in the bank's name. On the same afternoon of May 21, the Golds executed an agreement accepting the offer to purchase the property submitted by Young. After the deal had been completed, they induced Bernblum to decline to act as trustee.

The complaint specifically alleged that any profit made by the defendants Gold 'as a result of the foregoing conspiracy to prevent the proper functioning of the Bankruptcy Court belongs to the bankrupt estate.' It further specifically charged that the 'defendant First National Bank and Trust Company aided and abetted said conspiracy in order to collect on its debt.' The bank moved to expunge the latter statement because it was 'frivolous and unfit by reason of its scandalous and impertinent allegation.' It also made a motion that it be dropped as a party defendant for misjoinder. The trial court granted both motions. Thereafter, the plaintiff moved to vacate the court's order dropping the bank as a party defendant and to file a substitute complaint. The trial court denied both motions and the plaintiff has appealed.

The record in this case is incomplete because there is no judgment file recording the action of the court with reference to the bank. The court's decision upon the motion to vacate the order dropping the bank as a party defendant was, in effect, a final judgment, because it put the plaintiff 'out of court' as to this defendant. The situation which resulted was analogous to that presented by a refusal to plead over after the sustaining of a demurrer. See Maltbie, Conn.App.Proc., § 8. The proceedings of the court up to this point with reference to the bank should have been recorded in a judgment file. Practice Book, § 202. The memorandum of decision on the motion to drop the bank as a party defendant cannot be considered a record judgment. 'The judgment-file is the only formal written statement which expresses the decision rendered.' In re...

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13 cases
  • Pepin v. City of Danbury
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • May 11, 1976
    ...'The judgment-file is the only formal written statement which expresses the decision rendered." Harris v. First National Bank & Trust Co., 139 Conn. 749, 752, 97 A.2d 260, 261. See Lusas v. St. Patrick's Catholic Church Corporation, 125 Conn. 206, 208, 4 A.2d 333; Wagner v. Zoning Board of ......
  • Zaist v. Olson
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 7, 1967
    ...because of the failure of the judgment file to record any action by the court concerning The East Haven Homes, Inc. Harris v. First National Bank & Trust Co., 139 Conn. 749, 751, 97 A.2d 260. There is, in fact, no judgment from which that defendant may appeal. While this defect has obviousl......
  • Howarth v. Northcott
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 4, 1965
    ...for an appeal if, in fact, the court's ruling constitutes a final adjudication of the rights of a party. Harris v. First National Bank & Trust Co., 139 Conn. 749, 752, 97 A.2d 260; Hiss v. Hiss, supra, 135 Conn. 338, 64 A.2d On the printed record, the action of the trial court from which th......
  • DeMartino v. Monroe Little League, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • February 21, 1984
    ...is an appealable judgment, we have considered the appeal even where there was no judgment file. See Harris v. First National Bank & Trust Co., 139 Conn. 749, 752, 97 A.2d 260 (1953); Northeastern Gas Transmission Co. v. Brush, 138 Conn. 370, 372, 84 A.2d 681 The claim that it was error to a......
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