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3.3-1  Statute of Limitation Defense - General

Revised to January 1, 2008

Note:  Defenses based on statutes of limitation are usually adjudicated on motion.  Disputes over the date of an occurrence or application of tolling doctrines may, however, require factual findings by the jury.  The following sample charges, with appropriate adaptations, may be used to explain the tolling doctrines of continuing course of conduct, continuing duty based on a special relationship between the parties, and fraudulent concealment.  There are some statutory causes of action, e.g., CUTPA, to which some tolling doctrines do not apply.  See Willow Springs Condominium Assn., Inc. v. Seventh BRT Development Corp., 245 Conn. 1, 45-47 (1998); Fichera v. Mine Hill Corp., 207 Conn. 204, 216-17 (1998).

The defendant has raised as a defense to the plaintiff’s claim of <describe the claim to which the defense is directed> that the plaintiff cannot prevail on that claim because (he/she) did not bring suit on that claim within the time allowed by the law.  There are state statutes that specify how much time a person has to bring certain kinds of claims.  These are called statutes of limitation.  A person cannot recover on a claim that is brought after the time period that applies to a particular claim, even if it is only one day late.  The statute of limitation that applies to <describe the claim to which the defense is directed> provides that the claim must be brought within ____ years of the date the incident occurred.  The plaintiff brought (his/her) suit against the defendant on <date>.   A claim for <describe claim> based on acts or occurrences that took place more than ___  years before that date is barred by the statute of limitation.  You must decide when each act or occurrence on which the plaintiff bases (his/her) claim occurred.  If any of these acts or occurrences took place more than ____ years before the plaintiff brought suit, then a claim based on that act or occurrence is barred by the statute of limitation [unless an exception to this rule applies].

Note: Omit the phrase in brackets if no tolling doctrine is pleaded.  If one is pleaded, state that the plaintiff claims that an exception applies in this case and go on to explain the doctrine invoked.  Tell the jury the date the complaint was brought and remind them of the date of the occurrence, or, if the date is in dispute, the claims as to relevant dates.  This charge will also have to be modified if there is a dispute concerning the date when a plaintiff discovered or ought to have discovered the injury; see General Statutes § 52-584.


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