JOHN D. FLANNERY v.

SINGER ASSET FINANCE COMPANY, LLC, et al., SC 18821

Judicial District of Hartford

 

     Torts; CUTPA; Statute of Limitations; Whether Plaintiff Failed to Invoke the Continuing Course of Conduct Doctrine; Whether Statute of Limitations for CUTPA Claims can be Tolled by the Continuing Course of Conduct Doctrine.  The plaintiff won the lottery in 1988.  The lottery winnings were to be paid in twenty annual installments.  In 1999, the plaintiff retained attorney Glenn MacGrady and his law firm, Pepe & Hazard, LLP, to advise him about how to manage his winnings.  MacGrady convinced the plaintiff to sell his remaining installment payments to the defendant company for a discounted lump sum payment.  In 2005, the plaintiff brought this action, alleging that the defendant aided and abetted Pepe & Hazard in the breach of its fiduciary duty and that the defendant’s conduct violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA).  The claims were premised on allegations that MacGrady falsely advised the plaintiff that he would gain significant tax advantages if he sold his installment payments to the defendant, and that he was acting on behalf of the defendant when he did so.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant on the grounds that the claims were time-barred by the statutes of limitations applicable to tort and CUTPA claims.  The plaintiff appealed, claiming that the trial court improperly concluded that the statutes of limitations were not tolled by the continuing course of conduct doctrine.  The Appellate Court (128 Conn. App. 507), relying on Fichera v. Mine Hill Corp., 207 Conn. 204 (1988), ruled that, as a matter of law, the continuing course of conduct doctrine does not toll the statute of limitations set forth in General Statutes § 42-110g (f) for CUTPA claims.  It further ruled that, although the continuing course of conduct doctrine can toll the statute of limitations for tort claims set forth in General Statutes § 52-577, the doctrine was inapplicable here because the plaintiff failed to invoke it either in his complaint or in his pleading in avoidance of the statute of limitations special defense.  Accordingly, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of the defendant.  In this certified appeal, the Supreme Court will review the Appellate Court's rulings that the plaintiff's pleadings did not sufficiently invoke the continuous course of conduct doctrine and that the three year statute of limitations for bringing a CUTPA claim cannot be tolled.