Pellecchia v. Town of Killingly
Where a judgment of nonsuit entered based on a "knowing, blatant and egregious disregard for the court and the rules of practice," the action did not fail due to a matter of form as contemplated by the Accidental Failure of Suit Statute, Connecticut General Statutes §52-592. In July 2006, Anthony E. Pellecchia was killed when his motorcycle came into contact with a downed, energized power line. In 2008, the administrator of his estate, Anthony J. Pellecchia, filed a wrongful death action against the town of Killingly and others. Following a series of failures to comply with the trial court’s orders and the rules of practice, the trial court rendered a judgment of nonsuit as to all defendants. The judgment was affirmed on appeal. The plaintiff brought this second wrongful death action against the defendants in 2011. The defendants moved to dismiss, claiming that the action was not brought within the applicable two year statute of limitations, C.G.S. §52-555, and that the action could not be saved by resort to C.G.S. §52-592. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, finding it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims because the first action did not fail due to a "matter of form," as contemplated by C.G.S. §52-592, in that the failure was not the result of "mistake, inadvertence or excusable neglect." Rather, the court found that the judgment of nonsuit was rendered based on a "knowing, blatant and egregious disregard for the court and the rules of practice." The plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Because the trial court thoroughly addressed the arguments raised, its memorandum of decision was adopted as a statement of the facts and the applicable law on the issue. Further discussion was found to serve no useful purpose.