Defense obtains a minority view win in a personal injury/dram shop action in the Connecticut Superior Court.
After suffering severe brain damage in a motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff brought claims of negligence and recklessness against our restaurant client and other various defendants, including the owners and operator of the offending vehicle, who was charged with multiple criminal offenses (still pending) for operating under the influence. On behalf of our client, cross-claims were asserted for contribution and indemnification. The co-defendants first requested revision of the cross-claims, which were complied with, and then moved to strike the cross-claims as not recognized under Connecticut law. We argued, on behalf of the restaurant and sole proprietor owner, that there was a minority view of Superior Court cases of more recent vintage than that cited by the co-defendants’ counsel which supported such cross-claims. We submitted that the rationale behind these cases includes the plain language interpretation that Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 52-572h(c) does not prohibit a defendant from acquiring an apportionment evaluation of another (already named) party’s negligence. We argued this is particularly so under the circumstances of a criminally charged co-defendant operating under the influence as the final conduct in the negligence timeline. The Stamford Superior Court agreed that prohibiting the cross-claims would be absurd, irrational and nonsensical.