PA 15-67—HB 6925

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATUTE OF REPOSE IN HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL CASES RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF A PERSON

SUMMARY: This act extends the time for bringing wrongful death lawsuits in cases involving exposure to hazardous chemicals or hazardous pollutants. It generally allows these lawsuits to be brought up to two years after the injury or damage is discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have been discovered, as is already the case for personal injury or property damage lawsuits alleging this exposure.

Under prior law, as with most wrongful death actions, these hazardous exposure cases had to be brought within two years from the date of death, but no later than five years after the act or omission giving rise to the claim. (The two-year limit is often referred to as the statute of limitations and the five-year limit as the statute of repose. )

Under the act, the prior limiting periods still apply to lawsuits against (1) water companies regulated by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, (2) municipal waterworks systems, or (3) regional water authorities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015 and applicable to cases pending on or filed on or after that date.

BACKGROUND

Related Case

In a 2006 case, the surviving spouses and estate representatives of deceased former employees brought a wrongful death action against the employer concerning alleged exposure to hazardous chemicals. The decedents did not show symptoms of the alleged exposure until after the five-year repose period that applies to wrongful death actions had passed (CGS 52–555). The state Supreme Court held that under existing law, the claims were subject to that statute, rather than to the limitation period that applies to personal injury cases alleging hazardous chemical exposure (CGS 52–577c) (Greco v. United Technologies Corp. , 277 Conn. 337 (2006)).

OLR Tracking: JO; JKL; MS; BS