Judicial District of Waterbury


      Defenses; Statute of Limitations; Whether the Plaintiff's Untimely Action Could Be Saved by the “Wrong Defendant” Statute, General Statutes § 52-593.  This wrongful death action stems from the 2002 killing of Barbara Eckert by her former boyfriend, Mark Tannenbaum.  The day before she was killed, Eckert filed a complaint with the Watertown police department, claiming that Tannenbaum had punched the windows of the vehicle she was traveling in and had threatened her.  Three police officers arrested Tannenbaum in connection with that incident and took him into custody.  The next morning, a different officer, John F. Carroll III, released Tannenbaum on a promise to appear.  Once released, Tannenbaum shot and killed Eckert and then killed himself.  In 2003, Eckert’s estate (the plaintiff) filed an action against the town of Watertown and the three arresting officers, alleging that the officers were negligent in charging Tannenbaum with one misdemeanor and releasing him from custody without bond.  The plaintiff then withdrew that action and brought the present action in November of 2008 against the town and Carroll pursuant to General Statutes § 52-593, which allows a plaintiff who has failed to obtain a judgment by reason of failing to name the right person as a defendant to bring a new action within one year of the termination of the original action.  The trial court rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that the action was barred by the applicable two year statute of limitations and that it was not saved by § 52-593.  On appeal, the Appellate Court (134 Conn. App. 278) affirmed the trial court's judgment, ruling that the plaintiff’s failure to name all the defendants from whom it could have recovered in the original action did not constitute a failure to name the right person as defendant within the meaning of § 52-593.  It found that although Carroll had made the decision to release Tannenbaum on a promise to appear, it was undisputed that the three arresting officers named in the initial action played a role in the charging of Tannenbaum, which, in turn, led to Carroll's decision to release Tannenbaum.  It thus determined that the three arresting officers named as defendants to the initial action were proper defendants under the legal theory of negligence due to their involvement in the process that led to Tannenbaum’s release and that the plaintiff’s initial action therefore named some, but not all, of the potentially liable defendants.  Accordingly, it concluded that the initial action did not fail to name the right person as a defendant as contemplated by § 52-593, and therefore that the second action could not be saved by § 52-593.  In this appeal, the Supreme Court will decide whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the plaintiff's action was not saved by § 52-593.