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Costello v. Yale-New Haven Health Servs. Corp.

Appellate Court of Connecticut

December 1, 2015

MICHAEL COSTELLO ET AL.
v.
YALE-NEW HAVEN HEALTH SERVICES CORPORATION

Submitted on briefs September 14, 2015.

Action to recover damages for, inter alia, the defendant's alleged negligence, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield, where the court, Sommer, J., granted the defendant's motion to strike certain counts of the amended complaint; thereafter, the court, Kamp, J., granted the defendant's motion to strike count two of the substitute complaint; subsequently, the plaintiffs withdrew the remaining count of the substitute complaint; thereafter, the court, Kamp, J., granted the plaintiffs' motion for judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiffs appealed to this court.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

The plaintiffs brought an action seeking damages for negligence and for negligent, reckless and intentional infliction of emotional distress in connection with the loss of certain rings that allegedly disappeared while the plaintiffs' decedent was a patient in the defendant's hospital. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to strike the emotional distress counts of the complaint. The trial court ruled that a cause of action does not lie for claims of infliction of emotional distress resulting from the loss of property and granted the defendant's motion to strike the counts of the complaint that alleged infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs thereafter filed a two count substitute complaint alleging negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. A different trial court adopted the decision by the prior trial court and granted the defendant's motion to strike the count of the substitute complaint that alleged negligent infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs thereafter withdrew the count of the substitute complaint alleging negligence, and the court granted their motion for judgment and rendered judgment for the defendant, from which the plaintiffs appealed to this court. Held that this court, on the basis of its review of the record, concluded that the plaintiffs' claims were without merit.

Gary A. Mastronardi filed a brief for the appellants (plaintiffs).

Daniel E. Ryan III and Joanne P. Sheehan filed a brief for the appellee (defendant).

Beach, Alvord and Keller, Js.

OPINION

[161 Conn.App. 602] PER CURIAM.

The plaintiffs, Michael Costello and Dominic Costello, as individuals and as coexecutors of the estate of Anna Josephine Costello (decedent), appeal from the judgment of the trial court rendered following the granting of the motion filed by the defendant, Yale-New Haven Health Services Corporation, to strike the second count of the substitute complaint.[1] On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court " erred in granting the defendant's motion to strike [the] plaintiffs' common-law claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress . . . ." We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The following procedural history, and facts as alleged in the substitute complaint, are relevant to the plaintiffs' appeal. The plaintiffs are the sons of the decedent. On June 1, 2011, she was transported by ambulance to the defendant's facility, Bridgeport Hospital. At the time the decedent was admitted, she was in the possession of six rings, with an alleged value of approximately $25,000, which " were of deep emotional and sentimental value to her . . . ." Due to the severity of the decedent's medical condition, she was transferred to the intensive care unit of the hospital, where she died the following morning. It was alleged that " while still in hospital custody, all six of the decedent's rings disappeared mysteriously under circumstances which strongly indicated that they had been stolen."

The plaintiffs commenced this action on December 14, 2012, with a four count complaint against the defendant alleging negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, reckless infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On [161 Conn.App. 603] March 12, 2013, the defendant filed a motion to strike the three emotional distress counts of the complaint, claiming that Connecticut does not recognize a cause of action for emotional distress arising from a loss of property. Before the motion was heard by the

Page 608

court, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that eliminated only the count that had alleged reckless ...


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