Benoit v. Athanasiadis
Although the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur has been abolished as an independent cause of action in Connecticut, a negligence count that is predicated on res ipsa loquitur can survive a motion to strike. Allegedly, the plaintiff, who is deaf, fell on the floor, because the bolts in a men's restroom did not hold the toilet to the floor, and the toilet tipped. The plaintiff sued, alleging that the defendant negligently failed to inspect and to maintain safe premises. The plaintiff's complaint requested recovery under the legal theory of res ipsa loquitur. The defendant moved to strike and argued that there is no cause of action in Connecticut for res ipsa loquitur. The plaintiff apparently conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur does not qualify as an independent cause of action. New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Alander wrote in James v. Kinder-Garden Learning Center, a 2009 decision, "The plaintiffs are entitled to plead in the alternative and present in their complaints both claims of specific acts of negligence and circumstantial claims of negligence, such as res ipsa loquitur." Stamford Superior Court Judge David Tobin held in Goldblatt v. TJX Companies, a 2010 decision, that a negligence count predicated on res ipsa loquitur can survive a motion to strike. Here, the court denied the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's res ipsa loquitur allegation in order to preserve the plaintiff's claim that the defendant was negligent and that the plaintiff should recover under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.