The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Business Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Booth, George


SC20133 - Reclaimant Corp. v. Deutsch (Conflict of laws; unjust enrichment; statutes of limitations (§§ 52-576 and 52-577); motion for summary judgment on ground that plaintiff failed to timely commence action; claim that plaintiff failed to commence action within three year limitation period set forth in § 17-607 (c) of Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act; claim that trial court incorrectly determined that Delaware law rather than Connecticut law governed issue of whether plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims were time barred; "The narrow issue presented by this appeal is whether the statute of limitations of the state of Connecticut or the state of Delaware governs the unjust enrichment claims brought by the plaintiff, Reclaimant Corp., against the defendants, William J. Deutsch and Laurence B. Simon, seeking recovery for alleged overpayments issued to the defendants by the plaintiff's putative predecessor in interest pursuant to a limited partnership agreement. The trial court rendered summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that the plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims were governed by Delaware law and were time-barred under the three-year statute of limitations in the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (DRULPA), Del. Code Ann. tit. 6, § 17-607 (c) (2005). On appeal, the plaintiff contends that summary judgment was improper because Connecticut law governs the timeliness of its unjust enrichment claims and that those claims timely were filed under Connecticut law.

We conclude that Delaware law governs the substantive rights and liabilities of the parties arising out of the limited partnership agreement but that Connecticut law governs matters of judicial administration and procedure. We further conclude that, because the plaintiff's unjust enrichment claims have a common-law origin, the limitation period properly is "characterized as procedural because it functions only as a qualification on the remedy to enforce the preexisting right." Baxter v. Sturm, Ruger & Co., 230 Conn. 335, 347, 644 A.2d 1297 (1994). Thus, Connecticut law, rather than Delaware law, controls the timeliness of the plaintiff's claims. We therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.")