INVESTMENT ASSOCIATES v. SUMMIT ASSOCIATES, INC., et al., SC 18910
Judicial District of New Haven
Jurisdiction; Revival of Judgments; Whether Doctrine of Finality of Judgments Precludes Defendant From Raising Subject Matter Jurisdiction Claim; Whether General Statutes § 52-598 (c) Applies Retroactively; Whether Trial Court has Continuing Jurisdiction Over Parties for Purposes of Considering a Motion to Revive. In 1994, the plaintiff, a joint venture, obtained a judgment against defendant Joseph Lancia. In 2009, the plaintiff, alleging that the judgment remained unpaid, filed a motion to revive the judgment pursuant to General Statutes § 52-598 (c). That statute was enacted in 2009 and enables a party to file a motion to revive a judgment that he or she intends to enforce in a foreign jurisdiction. Lancia, who is now a resident of another state, moved to dismiss the motion to revive for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied that motion and granted the motion to revive. Lancia appealed, first claiming that, because a joint venture is not a legal entity, the plaintiff lacked standing such that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over its motion to revive. The Appellate Court (132 Conn. App. 192) observed that, while generally a challenge to subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time, the modern law of civil procedure indicates that the doctrine of finality of judgments may limit challenges to subject matter jurisdiction. Taking into account several factors, including the absence of any claim by Lancia that the plaintiff's actions denied him the opportunity to raise his standing claim earlier, the court ruled that the doctrine of finality of judgments precluded Lancia from raising his standing claim on appeal. Lancia next claimed that the trial court improperly applied § 52-598 (c) retroactively because that statute embodies a new substantive right. The Appellate Court disagreed, explaining that § 52-598 (c) does not create, define or regulate a right, but, instead, provides a party with a mechanism to enforce a right that he or she already possesses. The court opined that § 52-598 (c) was therefore a procedural law that was to be applied retroactively absent any clear expression of legislative intent to the contrary. Finally, the court rejected Lancia's claim that the trial court improperly exercised continuing personal jurisdiction over him for purposes of considering the motion to revive. The court explained that a motion to revive is not a new action requiring the trial court to obtain personal jurisdiction over the parties independent of jurisdiction present at judgment. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will review the Appellate Court’s decision.