Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Middlesex, Middletown
Robert W. Trommer, Jr.
City of Middletown et al
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION TO STRIKE
L. Aurigemma, J.
defendants, Officer August DeFrance and the City of
Middletown, have moved to strike the complaint of the
plaintiff, Robert W. Trommer, Jr., on the grounds that it
fails to state a cognizable cause of action because there is
no private right of action under Connecticut General Statutes
§ 14-108a(a)(2). The plaintiff has filed an opposing
memorandum to which he has appended multiple exhibits. A
motion to strike is limited to facts alleged in the complaint
and, therefore, the court has not considered those exhibits.
complaint alleges that on October 16, 2011 the plaintiff was
riding a motorcycle on the northbound side of Route 9 in
Middletown and was struck in the rear by a vehicle driven by
Kyle Wolak. Officer August DeFrance took control of the
accident scene and failed to properly investigate the
accident in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §
14-108a(a)(2), which prevented the plaintiff from securing
" a greater recovery in his accident-related
lawsuit(s)." Complaint ¶ 17.
of the Law and Ruling
function of a motion to strike is to test the legal
sufficiency of a pleading. Practice Book § 10-39;
Faulkner v. United Technologies Corporation, 240
Conn. 576, 580, 693 A.2d 293 (1997); Ferryman v.
Groton, 212 Conn. 138, 142, 561 A.2d 432 (1989);
Mingachos v. CBS, Inc., 196 Conn. 91, 108, 491 A.2d
368 (1985). In deciding a motion to strike the trial court
must consider as true the factual allegations, but not the
legal conclusions set forth in the complaint. Liljedahl
Bros., Inc. v. Grigsby, 215 Conn. 345, 348, 576 A.2d 149
(1990); Blancato v. Feldspar Corp., 203 Conn. 34,
36, 522 A.2d 1235 (1987).
court should view the facts in a broad fashion, not strictly
limited to the allegations, but also including the facts
necessarily implied by and fairly provable under them.
Dennison v. Klotz, 12 Conn.App. 570, 577, 532 A.2d
1311 (1987). In ruling on a motion to strike, the court must
take as admitted all well-pled facts, and those necessarily
implied thereby, and construe them in the manner most
favorable to the pleader. Norwich v. Silverberg, 200
Conn. 367, 370, 511 A.2d 336 (1986).
It is incumbent on a Plaintiff to allege some recognizable
cause of action" in the complaint and it is not the
burden of the defendant to attempt to correct the deficiency.
Brill v. Ulrey, 159 Conn. 371, 374, 269 A.2d 262
(1970). A motion to strike is an appropriate means of
presenting to the court legal issues at the outset of
litigation. Gordon v. Bridgeport Housing Authority,
208 Conn. 161, 170, 544 A.2d 1185 (1988). " Whenever a
party wishes to contest . . . the legal sufficiency of any
such complaint . . . or any count thereof, because of the
absence of any necessary party . . . that party may do so by
filing a motion to strike the contested pleadings or part
thereof." George v. St. Ann's Church, 182
Conn. 322, 325, 438 A.2d 97 (1980).
General Statutes § 14-108a(a)(2) provides, in pertinent
(2) In each motor vehicle accident in which any person is
killed or injured or in which damage to the property of any
one individual, including the operator, in excess of one
thousand dollars is sustained, the police officer, agency or
individual who, in the regular course of duty, investigates
such accident, either at the time of or at the scene of the
accident or thereafter, by interviewing the participants or
witnesses, shall, within five days after completing such
investigation, complete and forward one copy of such report
to the Commissioner of Transportation. Such report shall call
for and contain all available detailed information to
disclose the location and cause of the accident, the
conditions then existing, the persons and vehicles involved
and the names of the insurance companies issuing their
automobile liability policies, as well as the enforcement
action taken . . .
defendants claim that there is no private right of action
under § 14-108a(a)(2). It is a " well settled
fundamental premise that there exists a presumption in
Connecticut that private enforcement does not exist unless
expressly provided in a statute. In order to overcome that
presumption, the [plaintiff bears] the burden of
demonstrating that such an action is created implicitly in
the statute." (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
Perez-Dickson v. Bridgeport, 304 Conn. 483, 507, 43
A.3d 69 (2012). There is no case law indicating that §
14-108a(a)(2) provides for a private cause of action and the
statute does not include an express authorization for a
private cause of action, and no implicit authorization can be
read from its text.
plaintiff does not claim that § 14-108a(a)(2) provides a
private cause of action. Rather, he argues that the complaint
alleges general negligence and he relies on §
14-108a(a)(2) solely to establish the standard of care for
his claim of negligence.
problem with the foregoing argument is that the only count of
the complaint is entitled, " COUNT 1-C.G.S. §
14-108a(a)(2)." The defendants argue, essentially, that
the plaintiff cannot avoid the statute's failure to
provide a private cause of action by pleading that the
statute establishes a standard of care because the plaintiff
has not alleged any breach of a duty that flows from the
defendants to the plaintiff. " In order to recover in a
tort case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant has
breached a legal duty owed to him." Sheiman v.
Lafayette Bank & Trust Co., 4 Conn.App. 39, 44, 492
A.2d 219 (1985). " What duty the defendant had, if any,
is a question of law. The issue of whether the defendant owed
the plaintiff a duty of care is an appropriate one for a
motion to strike because the question embodies a matter of
law to be decided by the court." Bennett v.
Connecticut Hospice, Inc., 56 Conn.App. 134, 137, 741
A.2d 349 (1999).
plaintiff does not allege a breach of a duty that flows from
the defendants to him. Instead, he claims that the defendants
breached the legal duties set forth under §
14-108a(a)(2). As stated above, the only legal duties that
arise under that statute are reporting requirements to the