NEW ENGLAND ROAD, INC. v.
CLINTON PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION, SC 18840
Judicial District of Middlesex at Middletown
Personal Jurisdiction; Whether the Failure to Include a Citation in the Civil Process is a Curable Defect Pursuant to General Statutes § 52-72. The plaintiff, New England Road, Inc., appealed to the trial court from a decision of the defendant planning and zoning commission. The civil process served on the town clerk included the complaint, but no citation or summons. The defendant moved to dismiss the administrative appeal on the ground that the process was defective. In response, the plaintiff argued that it should be allowed to add the citation and re-serve the corrected process pursuant to General Statutes § 52-72, which provides that "[a]ny court shall allow a proper amendment to civil process which has been made returnable to the wrong return day or is for any other reason defective . . . ." The statute has been construed as permitting a plaintiff to amend the process to cure otherwise fatal jurisdictional defects. The court dismissed the appeal for lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendant, citing Hillman v. Greenwich, 217 Conn. 520 (1991), which held that a plaintiff's failure to attach a summons to the complaint was a jurisdictional defect that could not be cured by the filing of an amended complaint including a summons. The trial court opined that some jurisdictional defects may not be corrected under § 52-72 and explained that, because civil process served without a citation or summons raises due process concerns regarding notice, the defect here was not amenable to correction under that statute. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will review the trial court's decision.