CHARLES J. [*]
P. Fiengo, with whom, on the brief, was Eric W. Callahan, for
the appellant (defendant).
K. Clark, with whom, on the brief, was Timothy L.
O'Keefe, for the appellee (plaintiff).
Lavine, Prescott and Bear, Js.
defendant, Charles J., appeals from the trial court's
judgment (1) denying his motion to dismiss the application
for a prejudgment remedy filed by the plaintiff, Tara S., and
the underlying action,  and (2) granting a prejudgment
attachment of $150, 000 in favor of the plaintiff. On appeal,
the defendant claims that the court improperly denied his
motion to dismiss because, as applied to him, General
Statutes § 52-577d is unconstitutional in that the
plaintiff did not repress memories of the sexual assault and,
therefore, knew of her potential claim against him for more
than thirty years. The defendant also argues that §
52-577d violates his right to a speedy trial, his protection
against double jeopardy, and his right to confrontation
provided by both the United States and Connecticut
constitutions. Finally, the defendant argues that §
52-577d is unconstitutionally overbroad and improperly
deprives him of a property interest. We affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
relevant facts are set forth in the court's memorandum of
decision on the motion to dismiss and the application for a
prejudgment remedy. ‘‘The plaintiff is a victim
of sexual abuse at the hand of her father, the defendant . .
. who was the subject of a criminal prosecution, the appeal
of which resulted in a case of first impression [in our
Supreme Court] concerning the use of videotaped testimony of
minor victims . . . .
the hearing on the prejudgment remedy application, the
plaintiff . . . testified that she had reviewed the [Supreme
Court] decision and other documents relating to the
prosecution shortly before she testified. Her testimony about
the events surrounding the sexual assaults [was] nearly
identical to the facts as recited by the court . . . . The
plaintiff was four years old at the time of the assault and,
although she claimed to have memory of the assaults, the
court finds that the memory is largely based on a recent
reading of the accounts of the events and extensive
discussion with family members.
plaintiff, now [thirty-six] years of age, testified that she
and her mother and brother moved away from Middletown when
she was [five] years old. She stated that she thought she had
received some counseling, but had not received regular
medical checkups as a child. The plaintiff played sports and
an instrument in high school, where she was on the honor
roll. She was never suspended in school for any misconduct.
The plaintiff received her bachelor's degree from the
University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she was on
the dean's list, and a master's degree from the
University of Oregon. She married in 2010, had a child, and
divorced in 2015.
plaintiff testified that she had never been diagnosed with
depression by any medical professional. However, she stated
that she diagnosed herself with depression and obtained
antidepression medication from her primary care physician.
She last took the anti-depression medication in 2013. . . .
plaintiff testified that the main effect that the sexual
assaults had on her life was that she grew up only knowing
her mother's side of the family, she felt guilty about
her [the defendant's] prosecution and was embarrassed
when people asked her where her father was. When asked why
she decided to bring this lawsuit now, after the passage of
so many years, the plaintiff testified she struggled everyday
and also, learned that the case against [the defendant] had
Statutes § 52-577 provides that ‘‘[n]o
action founded upon a tort shall be brought but within three
years from the date of the act or omission complained
of.'' Section 52-577d, upon which the plaintiff
relies to establish the timeliness of this litigation,
provides that ‘‘[n]ot with standing the
provisions of section 52-577, no action to recover damages
for personal injury to a minor, including emotional distress,
caused by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual assault
may be brought by such person later than thirty years from
the date such person attains the age of
majority.'' The defendant makes several arguments
challenging the constitutionality of § 52-577d as
applied to him. Specifically, the defendant argues that the
plaintiff's claim does not satisfy the legislative
purpose behind extending the limitations period for victims
of childhood sexual abuse because the plaintiff allegedly did
not repress any memories of the sexual assaults. The
defendant further argues that this civil litigation is of a
‘‘quasi-criminal'' nature and infringes
upon certain constitutional protections typically afforded
criminal defendants, namely, the right to a speedy trial, the
protection against double jeopardy, and the right to
confrontation under the United States and Connecticut
constitutions. The defendant also claims that § 52-577d
is unconstitutionally overbroad and infringes upon a property
interest of the defendant. We disagree.
considering an application for a prejudgment remedy [t]he
trial court's function is to determine whether there is
probable cause to believe that a judgment will be rendered in
favor of the plaintiff in a trial on the merits. . . .
Appellate review of the granting of a [pre-judgment remedy]
is extremely narrow and focused. In determining probable
cause, the trial court is vested with wide discretion and our
role in reviewing the trial court's action is limited to
determining whether the court's conclusion was
reasonable. . . . Accordingly, the trial court's
determination in a [prejudgment remedy] proceeding should not
be disturbed unless it is clearly erroneous. . . .
Furthermore, we are entitled to presume that the trial court
acted properly and considered all the evidence.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Giordano v.
Giordano, 39 Conn.App. 183, 206, 664 A.2d 1136 (1995).
On appeal, the defendant does not, separately from or in
addition to his constitutional claims, contest the
court's finding of probable cause or its granting of or
the amount of the prejudgment remedy.
the constitutionality of a statute presents a question of law
over which our review is plenary. . . . It [also] is well
established that a validly enacted statute carries with it a
strong presumption of constitutionality, [and that] those who
challenge its constitutionality must sustain the heavy burden
of proving its unconstitutionality beyond a reasonable doubt.
. . . The court will indulge in every presumption in favor of
the statute's constitutionality . . . . Therefore, [w]hen
a question of constitutionality is raised, courts must
approach it with caution, examine it with care, and sustain