Daly v. Quinnipiac University
A court may deny a proposal to amend a complaint, to add a recklessness count, if the recklessness count does not relate back to the original complaint, which alleged negligence, and the two-year statute of limitations has expired. On Sept. 28, 2008, the plaintiff freshman, Kathryn Daly, allegedly fell off the bed in her dorm at Quinnipiac University and was injured. Allegedly, the bed was a "lofted" bed that was raised a significant distance from the floor, and it lacked guard rails. Daly sued Quinnipiac, alleging it negligently failed to provide a reasonably safe bed with guard rails that met U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements or to warn university students about the risk of falls. The plaintiff requested the court's permission to amend her claim, to add the allegation that Quinnipiac University was reckless, and its agents and employees acted with willful and wanton disregard for safety, because they knew that the plaintiff's bed did not meet safety standards and that other students had fallen from similar beds. A proposed amendment to a complaint does not relate back to the original complaint, if the amendment involves "different sets of circumstances and depend[s] on different facts to prove or disprove the allegations of a different basis of liability," pursuant to Sharp v. Mitchell, a 1988 Connecticut Supreme Court decision. The court found that the proposed recklessness count did not relate back to the original complaint against Quinnipiac University and was barred by the two-year statute of limitations in Connecticut General Statutes §52-584. "The first complaint's allegations of failures to act, or omissions," wrote the Superior Court, "did not provide fair notice to Quinnipiac that it could be held liable for reckless conduct and could face a punitive damage award if found liable." The court denied the plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint.