Sal's Glass Co. LLC v. Duplicating Methods Co.
Original Plaintiff Withdrew From Putative Junk Fax Class Action
Civil Procedure | Class Actions | Parties | Statute of Limitations | Consumer Protection
- Superior Court
- Hartford J.D., at Hartford
- Feb 19 2013 (Date Decided)
- Vacchelli, J.
If the original plaintiff in a putative class-action suit decides to withdraw, the complaint of the substitute plaintiff can relate back to the date of the original plaintiff's complaint. The plaintiff, Sal's Glass Co. LLC, filed a putative class- action suit, on behalf of the plaintiff and similarly situated companies, alleging that the defendant sent unsolicited junk faxes, without the plaintiff's permission, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 United States Code §227. The managing member of Sal's Glass Co. later indicated that he did not want to proceed with the suit, and he asked to withdraw. The court granted the plaintiffs' motion to substitute Dr. Karen Rubinow as the lead plaintiff and to withdraw Sal's Glass Co. as the lead plaintiff. The defendants moved for summary judgment and argued that the two-year statute of limitations in Connecticut General Statutes §52-570c applied to bar Dr. Rubinow's 2011 complaint about an October 2006 fax. In Haas v. Pittsburgh National Bank, a 1975 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit wrote, "[T]he commencement of the original class action by [the original plaintiff] tolled the statute of limitations as to all asserted members of the class who would have been parties had the suit been permitted to continue as a class action." The Haas court added, "The amendment of the complaint by the addition of [the new plaintiff], therefore relates back to the initial filing of the complaint." The court found that the four-year statute of limitations in federal law applied, that Sal's Glass Co. possessed standing to file the original complaint, and that Dr. Rubinow's complaint related back to the original complaint, pursuant to the relation back doctrine. The statute of limitations did not bar the plaintiffs' suit, with Dr. Rubinow as plaintiff, and the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment.