Crane v. City of New Haven
The term "employee" in Connecticut General Statutes §52-57(b)(7) does not include individuals who worked for a municipality at the time of the underlying incident and who do not work for a municipality at the time of service of process. Allegedly, the plaintiff, Matthew Crane, was a social invitee, and when he was on the fire escape of the subject premises, it collapsed, and he was injured. On Jan. 28, 2013, Crane arranged to serve the writ, summons and complaint, pursuant to C.G.S. §52-57(b)(7), on former City of New Haven workers who allegedly were responsible to inspect the premises. Each of these municipal defendants has since retired or resigned. The defendants moved to dismiss and argued that service of process on the municipal or city clerk was legally insufficient. The court found that the statute is ambiguous with respect to whether the term "employee" includes individuals who have retired or resigned. The purpose of service of process is to provide notice. Service of process on the municipal or city clerk would not be reasonably calculated to inform former workers who have since retired or resigned about the plaintiff's complaint. Defendant Robert Sheeley, a former housing code inspector, allegedly inspected the premises in February 2007 and resigned in July 2007. Service of process on the city clerk on Jan. 28, 2013 was not calculated to inform Sheeley about the plaintiff's complaint. The court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss.