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Boahen v. Trifiletti

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 19, 2018

KWAME BOAHEN, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILLIP TRIFILETTI, ET AL., Defendants. LM INSURANCE CORP., ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
KWAME BOAHEN, ET AL., Defendants. PHILLIP TRIFILETTI, Plaintiff,
v.
KWAME BOAHEN, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION DENYING BOAHEN'S MOTIONS TO DISMISS COUNTERCLAIMS [DKT. NOS. 21 AND 22] AND GRANTING BOAHEN AND ENVIRO'S MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT [DKT. NO. 25]

          Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge

         The motions now before the Court arise out of the consolidation of three individual cases resulting from the same factual background.[1] On December 13, 2017, Kwame Boahen (“Boahen”), a Connecticut resident, filed suit against Philip Trifiletti (“Trifiletti”) and Trifiletti's employer, UPS Ground Freight, Inc. (“UPS Freight”), in Connecticut Superior Court for negligence. Trifiletti and UPS Freight removed the case to Federal Court in the District of Connecticut on January 30, 2018. [No. 18-cv-00171-VLB, hereinafter “Case 171”]. Trifiletti and UPS Freight both filed counterclaims on February 6, 2018, which Boahen now moves to dismiss.

         Trifiletti, a New Jersey resident, brought the second case on January 10, 2018, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for negligence against Boahen and Boahen's employer Enviro Express, Inc. (“Enviro”). [No. 18-cv-00713-VLB, hereinafter “Case 713”]. The Court transferred the case to the District of Connecticut on April 24, 2018. [18-cv-713, Dkt. No. 4].

         On January 12, 2018, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., (“UPS Supply”) and UPS Freight (collectively “UPS”), LM Insurance Corporation (“LM”), as subrogee of UPS, and Helmsman Management Services LLC (“Helmsman”), as Third-Party Administrator for UPS (collectively the “UPS Parties”) filed a complaint against Boahen and Enviro in the District of Connecticut for negligence. [No. 18-cv-00075-VLB, hereinafter “Case 75”]. Boahen and Enviro now move to dismiss.

         The Court consolidated the cases on April 6, 2018.

         I. Background

         Boahen, is a resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut and at all times herein was employed by Enviro. [Dkt. No. 1 (Boahen Compl.) ¶¶ 2, 3]. Trifiletti is a resident of Roebling, New Jersey and at all times herein was employed by UPS Freight. [Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 4]. On January 12, 2016, Boahen was driving a tractor-trailer owned by Enviro northbound on Interstate 95 (“I-95”). [Dkt. No. 1 ¶¶ 3, 5]. While driving, Boahen's truck became disabled. [Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 5]. Boahen pulled into the right shoulder. [Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 5]. On the same day, Trifiletti was driving a truck with an attached trailer registered to UPS Freight northbound on I-95 in Connecticut. [Dkt. No. 11 (Trifiletti Countercl.) ¶¶ 2, 31]. At around 7:14 a.m., Trifiletti and Boahen were involved in a motor vehicle accident (“the Accident”). [Dkt. No. 11 ¶ 6].

         Boahen filed suit in Case 171 on December 13, 2017. Trifiletti and UPS Freight both filed counterclaims on February 6, 2018, which Boahen now moves to dismiss.

         On January 12, 2018, the UPS Parties filed a complaint in Case 75 against Boahen and Enviro. Process was delivered to the marshal on January 16, 2018 and the marshal served Defendants on January 23 and 24, 2018. Boahen and Enviro now move to dismiss.

         II. Motions to Dismiss

         a. Motions to Dismiss UPS Freight's and Trifiletti's Counterclaims

         On February 6, 2018, UPS Freight and Trifiletti answered Boahen's Complaint in Case 171 and each filed a counterclaim (the “Counterclaims”) against Boahen for negligence. [Dkt. No. 10 (UPS Freight Answer Countercl.) at 11; Dkt. No. 11 (Trifiletti Answer Countercl.) at 11]. The Counterclaims brought by UPS Freight and Trifiletti are identical. Boahen moved to dismiss the counterclaims in two separate motions filed on April 4, 2018 for failure to comply with the statute of limitations. [Dkt. Nos. 20, 22 (Mots. Dismiss)]. Boahen's Motions to Dismiss the Counterclaims and supporting briefing are substantively identical and Trifiletti's and UPS Freight's opposition briefs are identical. [Dkt. Nos. 20-23; 34 and 35 respectively]. Therefore, the two motions are addressed together in the following analysis and the decision applies to both.

         Boahen moves to dismiss both Counterclaims on the grounds that they are untimely due to an expired statute of limitations. [Dkt. No. 21 (Mot. Dismiss UPS Countercl. Mem.) at 1; Dkt. No. 23 (Mot. Dismiss Trifiletti Countercl. Mem.) at 1]. UPS Freight and Trifiletti assert that counterclaims can be brought at any time before the formal close of pleadings under the relevant statute of limitations. [Dkt. No. 34 at 1; Dkt. No. 35 at 1]. Furthermore, UPS Freight and Trifiletti argue that Boahen's Motions to Dismiss the Counterclaims are untimely because they were brought more than twenty-one days after the Counterclaims were asserted. [Dkt. No. 34 at 5; Dkt. No. 35 at 5].

         The applicable statute of limitations allows a suit to be commenced within two years of the date of injury but for an exception for counterclaims. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-584. The statute provides “no action to recover damages for injury to the person, or to real or personal property, caused by negligence, or by reckless or wanton misconduct . . . shall be brought but within two years from the date when the injury is first sustained or discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered . . . except that a counterclaim may be interposed in any such action any time before the pleadings in such action are finally closed.” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-584 (emphasis added). The statute is very clear that a counterclaim is not subject to the two-year statute of limitations and can be brought at any time before the pleadings in an action are closed. See Mulcahy v. Mossa, 872 A.2d 453, 459 (Conn. App. Ct. 2005) (‚ÄúSection 52-584 expressly provides that a counterclaim may be filed at any time prior to the close of pleadings, irrespective of ...


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