Tom Lambert Wins Appeal on Dismissal of Case

June 30, 2017

The Connecticut Appellate Court recently published an opinion in the case of Jamie Pronovost v. Marisa Tierney, affirming a Superior Court decision granting a motion to dismiss filed by RRD Associate, Thomas S. Lambert. The underlying claim involved a motor vehicle accident in Maryland involving two drivers, the Connecticut resident plaintiff and Maryland resident defendant. The plaintiff brought a lawsuit in Connecticut stemming from the accident despite the fact that the out-of-state defendant had no connection to the state of Connecticut. The plaintiff argued that the court had jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant pursuant to the state long-arm statute as the plaintiff's vehicle suffered a diminution of value in Connecticut and since the defendant received substantial revenue from interstate commerce.

Attorney Lambert moved for dismissal on behalf of the out-of-state defendant on the grounds that case law on Connecticut's long-arm statute and constitutional principles of Due Process prevented the court from exercising personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The trial court, Hon. Robert Shapiro, agreed, finding that the plaintiff's interpretation of the long-arm statute's substantial revenue clause did not comport with Supreme Court precedent.

On appeal, briefed and argued by Attorney Lambert, the Appellate Court affirmed and adopted the trial court's decision and Attorney Lambert's arguments. Judge Bear, writing for the Appellate Court, emphasized that it was bound by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the state's long-arm statute. The Court further rejected the plaintiff's invitation to expand the ambit of the long-arm statute to extend over and out-of-state defendant simply because that individual is engaged in interstate commerce without any impact in Connecticut. In doing so, the Appellate Court rejected the plaintiff's interpretation of the law and noted that it would have placed the statute in "constitutional jeopardy."

The two other judges of the three judge panel of the Appellate Court joined Judge Bear in his decision in affirming the trial court's decision.