Colonial Penn Ins. Co. v. Bryant

In Colonial Penn Ins. Co. v. Bryant, 245 Conn. 710, 714 A.2d 1209 (1998), the Court stated the guidelines for determining whether an amendment to a statute can be applied retroactively or prospectively. "Whether to apply a statute retroactively or prospectively depends upon the intent of the legislature in enacting the statute. . . . In order to determine the legislative intent, we utilize well established rules of statutory construction. Our point of departure is General Statutes 55-3, which states: No provision of the general statutes, not previously contained in the statutes of the state, which imposes any new obligation on any person or corporation, shall be construed to have retrospective effect. The obligations referred to in the statute are those of substantive law. . . . Thus, we have uniformly interpreted 55-3 as a rule of presumed legislative intent that statutes affecting substantive rights shall apply prospectively only. . . . This presumption in favor of prospective applicability, however, may be rebutted when the legislature clearly and unequivocally expresses its intent that the legislation shall apply retrospectively. . . . Where an amendment is intended to clarify the original intent of an earlier statute, it necessarily has retroactive effect. . . . We generally look to the statutory language and the pertinent legislative history to ascertain whether the legislature intended that the amendment be given retrospective effect." Id., 718-19.