Archambault v. Soneco Ne., Inc
In Archambault v. Soneco Ne., Inc., 287 Conn. 20, 40-41, 946 A.2d 839 (2008), a plaintiff argued that evidence of a non-party's negligence should have been excluded because the defendant "could have attempted to keep the non-party in the case . . . . and could have filed an apportionment complaint against the non-party following the non-party's dismissal from the case rather than attempting to proceed under a general denial to adduce evidence of the non-party's alleged negligence." Id. at 40.
Moreover, the plaintiff pointed out that the defendant "instituted a postverdict indemnification claim against the non-party pursuant to which the trial court awarded defendant a prejudgment remedy in the amount of $8,590,000 . . . ." Id.
The Connecticut Supreme Court, however, rejected these claims, observing:
"We are unpersuaded. The fact that defendant could have taken other actions to compel the non-party's continued involvement in the case, which may or may not have been appropriate or effective, has no bearing on the legal issue before this court, namely, whether a defendant may introduce evidence of a nonparty employer's negligence as the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries under a general denial. The fact that defendant instituted an indemnification claim against the non-party similarly has no bearing on the issue before this court. We therefore conclude that the plaintiff's arguments have no merit and that defendant is entitled to a new trial." Id. at 40-41.
In Archambault v. Soneco Ne., Inc., a Connecticut defendant chose not to "file an apportionment complaint against a non-party . . . and instead attempted to proceed under a general denial to adduce evidence of the non-party's alleged negligence." Archambault, 287 Conn. at 40.
The Connecticut Supreme Court held that, "the issue in the present case is whether the defendant may introduce evidence that a nonparty employer's negligence was the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries so as to escape liability altogether.
Accordingly, the legal principles of apportionment . . . do not apply . . . ." Id. at 39-40.
The court recognized, however, that, "if there was any question that the non-party's negligence was not the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries" the defendant would be "held liable for all, rather than some proportionate share, of the plaintiff's damages" where no apportionment claim is filed. Id. at 40.