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Mosby v. Board of Education of City of Norwalk

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

February 5, 2019

JOHN MOSBY
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF NORWALK

          Argued October 25, 2018

         Procedural History

         Action to recover damages for, inter alia, the defendant's alleged discrimination, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford, where the court, Lee, J., granted the defendant's motion to dismiss and rendered judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          John Mosby, self-represented, the appellant (plaintiff).

          M. Jeffry Spahr, for the appellee (defendant).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Elgo and Harper, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The self-represented plaintiff, John Mosby, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his action against the defendant, the Board of Education of the City of Norwalk, alleging discrimination in violation of General Statutes §§ 46a-58, 46a-64 and 46a-82, and retaliation in violation of General Statutes § 46a-60. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly dismissed his complaint as untimely. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. On February 18, 2016, the plaintiff received a release of jurisdiction from the Commission on HumanRights and Opportunities (commission), with which he had filed a complaint. On May 27, 2016, the plaintiff delivered the process to be served to Constable Ernie Dumas, who then served the defendant on May 31, 2016. The plaintiff's complaint was returned to the court on June 13, 2016. On July 8, 2016, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the plaintiff had failed to commence his action within ninety days of receiving the release of jurisdiction from the commission as required by General Statutes § 46a-101 (e).[1] By order dated November 8, 2016, the court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss. From that judgment, the plaintiff now appeals.

         ‘‘Before addressing the plaintiff's claims on appeal, we address the applicable standard of review, which is well settled. A motion to dismiss tests, inter alia, whether, on the face of the record, the court is without jurisdiction. . . . [O]ur review of the court's ultimate legal conclusion and resulting [determination] of the motion to dismiss will be de novo. . . . When a . . . court decides a . . . question raised by a pretrial motion to dismiss, it must consider the allegations of the complaint in their most favorable light. . . . In this regard, a court must take the facts to be those alleged in the complaint, including those facts necessarily implied from the allegations, construing them in a manner most favorable to the pleader. . . . The motion to dismiss . . . admits all facts which are well pleaded, invokes the existing record and must be decided upon that alone.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Bennett v. New Milford Hospital, Inc., 300 Conn. 1, 10-11, 12 A.3d 865 (2011).

         On appeal, the plaintiff argues that his action was commenced in a timely manner. Additionally, the plaintiff indicates that he believes his action falls within the remedial savings statute, General Statutes § 52-593a, [2]which would render his action timely commenced if process had been delivered to the constable prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations and served within thirty days. The defendant disagrees, arguing that the commencement of an action under Connecticut law occurs with the service of the writ upon the defendant and that the defendant was served after the expiration of the statute of limitations. The defendant also argues that the remedial savings statute does not apply to the plaintiff's case because the plaintiff delivered the service to the constable after the expiration of the statute of limitations. We agree with the defendant.

         Pursuant to General Statutes §§ 46a-100 and 46a-101 (e), [3] the plaintiff had ninety days from the date in which he received the release of jurisdiction from the commission to commence his action in the Superior Court. The plaintiff received the release of jurisdiction from the commission on February 18, 2016. The plaintiff, therefore, was required to commence his action by May 18, 2016. In his brief, the plaintiff indicates that his action was filed and served on May 9, 2016, and it was, thus, commenced in a timely manner. Although the plaintiff's complaint is dated May 9, 2016, and the summons was signed by a clerk of court on May 9, 2016, the record indicates that neither was the action filed nor was the defendant served on May 9, 2016.

         It is well established that, in Connecticut, ‘‘an action is commenced not when the writ is returned but when it is served upon the defendant.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Rocco v. Garrison, 268 Conn. 541, 549, 848 A.2d 352 (2004); see General Statutes § 52-45a.[4] The return of service indicates that Constable Dumas served the defendant on May 31, 2016. Accordingly, the plaintiff commenced his action on May 31, 2016, after the expiration of the statute of limitations.

         The plaintiff is correct in that, pursuant to the remedial savings statute, his action would not be lost if he had delivered the process to be served to Constable Dumas by May 18, 2016, ninety days from the date he received the release of jurisdiction from the commission. See General Statutes ยง 52-593a. In his affidavit, however, Constable Dumas averred that he received the summons and complaint from the plaintiff on May 27, 2016. As such, the plaintiff delivered the process to Constable Dumas after the expiration of the statute of limitations, ...


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