Connecticut Supreme Court Decides not too Late to Challenge Subject Matter Jurisdiction; Plaintiff Failed to Plead Insurance Requirement

by Joseph C. Maya on Aug. 11, 2017

Lawsuit & Dispute Litigation Lawsuit & Dispute  Lawsuit 

Summary: A blog post about a recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision.

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In Machado v. Taylor, 326 Conn. 396 (2017), the Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled that delay or laches does not preclude a defendant from challenging subject matter jurisdiction even if a motion to dismiss on that ground is brought at the close of evidence after a trial.  The claimant here sued the State of Connecticut arising out of a motor vehicle accident under General Statutes § 52-556 which permits claimants to sue the state when the government owns and insures a vehicle that a state employee operates negligently—otherwise known as the waiver of sovereign immunity statute.  However, the plaintiff failed to plead in the complaint and failed to offer evidence at trial that the state insured the vehicle even though the state admitted it self-insured the vehicle in an interrogatory response during discovery.  When the state made a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to plaintiff’s lack of establishing the insurance element under the statute, the plaintiff’s opposition finally presented the interrogatory response.  The trial court sided with the plaintiff and the state appealed.  The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with the state that the delay with respect to its motion to dismiss was justifiable because subject matter jurisdiction can always be raised, particularly since the plaintiff failed to properly plead and offer the required elements to prove his case.  The case was remanded back down the Superior Court for further proceedings and findings regarding the state’s assertion of dismissal based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  This case is quite instructional in that if plaintiff’s do not plead complaints properly and offer certain evidence at trial then claims can suffer from being dismissed even in the last stages after a hearing on the substance.

If you are concerned about whether your personal injury complaint comports with all the proper legal elements that are required and how to present them to the court, please contact the litigation attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C.

Source: Machado v. Tayor, 326 Conn. 396 (2017).

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