WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. v. JACK'S BAR & GRILLE, LLC, et al., SC 19193
Judicial District of New Haven
Appellate Jurisdiction; Foreclosure; Whether Interlocutory Ruling Denying Foreclosing Party’s Motion to Access the Property is an Appealable Final Judgment. The plaintiff brought this action seeking to foreclose a mortgage on commercial property in New Haven. The plaintiff then filed a motion to obtain access to the property to conduct an environmental study, claiming that language in the mortgage gave it a contractual right to do so. The trial court denied that motion. While the plaintiff’s claim for foreclosure was still pending before the trial court, the plaintiff appealed, challenging the denial of its motion to access the property. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal for lack of a final judgment on the ground that the interlocutory ruling was not immediately appealable under State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31 (1983). Curcio holds that an otherwise interlocutory order is immediately appealable if it (1) terminates a separate and distinct proceeding, or (2) so concludes the rights of the parties that further proceedings cannot affect them. In this appeal, the plaintiff argues that the Appellate Court improperly dismissed its appeal for lack of a final judgment because the order denying its motion to access the property satisfies both prongs of Curcio. In particular, it claims that the ruling effectively terminated its efforts to obtain separate and distinct relief, namely, access to the property that it seeks to foreclose. The plaintiff contends that it could have brought a separate action to access the property and that, if it was denied access in that context, there would be no doubt that a final judgment existed. It claims that it is impractical, however, for a lender to bring a separate action to access property that is the subject of a foreclosure action and that the Appellate Court elevated form over substance in dismissing its appeal. Moreover, the plaintiff argues that the trial court's ruling concluded its contractual right to inspect the property for environmental issues, thereby depriving it of the information necessary to determine whether it should pursue the foreclosure action and take title to the property or sue on the note and guaranty agreement.