The Statute of Limitations and the Governor’s Covid stay in Connecticut
Early in the Covid-19 pandemic Governor Lamont issued a number of Executive Orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the stay-at-home orders.
One of those orders was a stay of the Connecticut Statute of Limitations.
Generally speaking, in a civil case seeking money damages for injuries, a lawsuit in Connecticut must be filed no later than two years from the date of the incident or the right to file a lawsuit and pursue the claim may be barred. While there are exceptions to this rule, this is the Statute of Limitations.
The Governor’s Executive Order stayed the Statute of Limitations from March 2020 until March 2021. An issue arose as to the meaning of the stay. If a claim was “ripe”, (the incident which is the subject of the claim occurred before March 2020), was the Statue of Limitations only extended for that claim during the effective dates of the Executive Order, (March 2020-March 2021) as argued by the defense in many of these cases, or was the Statue of Limitations 2 years extended by the number of days the Executive Order was in effect, as argued by the plaintiffs.
An important court ruling on this issue was published on September 22, 2021 in Hartford Superior Court which adopted the plaintiff’s position and allowed the case to proceed. While subject to potential appeal, this ruling is a very positive development for plaintiffs in Connecticut.