Sanborn v. Greenwald

In Sanborn v. Greenwald, 39 Conn. App. 289, 305, 664 A.2d 803, cert. denied, 235 Conn. 925, 666 A.2d 1186 (1995), a legal malpractice case, we addressed the constitutionality of the three year limitation period contained in General Statutes 52-577, which contains almost identical language to 52-584 and had the identical effect of barring the plaintiff's cause of action before it had accrued. The Court concluded that even though 52-577 did limit a common-law right that existed in 1818, it did not restrict or abridge the cause of action because it merely established the time period within which the plaintiff could assert that right. Sanborn v. Greenwald, supra, 39 Conn. App. at 304-305. General Statutes 52-577 provides: "No action founded upon a tort shall be brought but within three years from the date of the act or omission complained of." In Sanborn, we observed that the right to bring an action against an attorney existed at common law and could be "traced back to the English common law action of trespass on the case." Id., 39 Conn. App. at 299. The Court further observed that, "at the time our constitution was adopted in 1818 . . . there was no statute of limitations that restricted this type of action . . . . in May, 1819, however, a committee was appointed to examine the statute laws, and to recommend such alterations and provisions as should be necessary and expedient to render the statutes conformable to the constitution. . . . In 1821, the committee reported to the legislature . . . . Pursuant to the report, the legislature enacted 4 of title 59, entitled 'Limitations. An Act for the Limitation of Civil Actions, and of Criminal Prosecutions,' which provided: 'No action of trespass on the case shall be brought but within six years next after the right of action shall accrue.'" Id., 39 Conn. App. at 300.