American Laundry Machinery, Inc. v. State

Citation190 Conn. 212,459 A.2d 1031
CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Decision Date24 May 1983

Page 1031

459 A.2d 1031
190 Conn. 212
STATE of Connecticut.
Supreme Court of Connecticut.
Argued March 10, 1983.
Decided May 24, 1983.

Page 1032

Paul H. Lichtenberger, Bloomfield, with whom, on the brief, was Michael P. Del Sole, Hartford, for appellant (plaintiff).

Thomas Yasensky, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom were Edwin A. Roscoe, Asst. Atty. Gen., and, on the brief, Joseph I. Lieberman, Atty. Gen., for appellee (state).


SHEA, Associate Justice.

In this action for breach of contract against the state of Connecticut the court granted the motion of the defendant to dismiss the complaint upon the [190 Conn. 213] ground of sovereign immunity. The plaintiff has appealed from that judgment, claiming that the contract relied upon in the complaint was "for the design, construction, repair or alteration" of a state building upon which suit against the state is authorized by General Statutes § 4-61. 1 After reviewing the contract attached to the amended complaint as an exhibit, the trial court concluded that it involved essentially the purchase of laundry equipment and that the work required of the plaintiff to install the equipment was not sufficient for the contract to qualify under § 4-61. We find no error.

The motion to dismiss filed by the defendant relies entirely upon the allegations of the complaint and does not seek to introduce

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any additional facts outside of the record. See Practice Book § 143. The complaint alleges that on August 18, 1975, the purchasing division[190 Conn. 214] of the state department of finance and control 2 awarded to the plaintiff, as the successful bidder, a contract for the purchase and installation of certain laundry equipment in the laundry building of the Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown, a state institution. The contract specified in detail the equipment to be furnished by the plaintiff and also required that it be fully installed in the locations specified and be placed in operation upon completion of the work. The public works department of the state was to provide "steam lines, hot and cold water lines, compressed air and natural or LP gas to all points convenient to machinery and equipment" and would also make "all building modifications and alterations to the building structure." The plaintiff was required to provide all electrical lines and connections, to perform the plumbing work necessary to connect the equipment to the supply lines, and to do some duct work in connection with the air transfer system. The complaint alleged that performance of the installation work also required alterations and repairs to be made to various portions of the laundry room, including the electrical and ventilating systems. The total contract price was $781,887, which was apportioned among the three major components of the laundry, the washroom system, the flat ironing system and the folder-crossfolder stackers. The gravamen of the breach of contract alleged is that the state delayed the plaintiff in performing the installation work by failing to complete its obligations under the contract on time and by failing to coordinate the project.

General Statutes § 4-61 originally authorized suits against the state only upon highway or public works [190 Conn. 215] department contracts. Public Acts, 1957 No. 229. In 1969 the statute was amended to allow actions upon contracts with the state, "acting through any of its departments, commissions or other agencies." Public Acts, 1969 No. 429. The remedy of a suit against the state, however, continued to be restricted to contracts "for the design, construction, repair or alteration of any state highway, bridge, building or other public works." General Statutes § 4-61. This statute must be read in conjunction with General Statutes § 4-131, 3 which forbids any state officer or agency except the public works commissioner, "unless otherwise specifically authorized by law," from contracting for "any alteration, repair or addition to any real asset involving an expenditure of more than twenty-five thousand dollars." The legislative history of § 4-131 indicates that the term "real asset" was intended broadly to include any real property of the state except highways and bridges. Connecticut Rural Roads Improvement Asso. v. Hurley, 124 Conn. 20, 33, 197 A. 90 (1938). Since the amount of the contract alleged in the complaint exceeded $25,000, in the absence of other statutory authority, § 4-131 prohibited anyone but the public works commissioner from making it if it were an agreement for any "alteration, repair or addition to" the laundry building of the hospital, as the plaintiff claims.

[190 Conn. 216] No claim has been made nor does it otherwise appear that the director of purchases

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was acting as the agent of the commissioner of public works in awarding the contract to the plaintiff. We also are unaware of any statutory...

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21 cases
  • Pellegrino v. O'Neill
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 9 Octubre 1984
    ...the role of either a motion to erase or a plea in abatement under our former practice. See American Laundry Machinery, Inc. v. State, 190 Conn. 212, 217, 459 A.2d 1031 (1983). Since no affidavits of facts not apparent on the record have been filed in accordance with Practice Book § 143, thi......
  • Capers v. Lee, 15473
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 26 Noviembre 1996
    ...interpret § 52-592 in the context of a motion to dismiss, which admits all well pleaded facts; American Laundry Machinery, Inc. v. State, 190 Conn. 212, 217, 459 A.2d 1031 (1983); and because the plaintiff never questioned whether a motion to dismiss was the proper procedural vehicle, the t......
  • Civil Service Com'n v. Pekrul, s. 087414
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Connecticut
    • 18 Octubre 1989
    ...plaintiffs. Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2206, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975); American Laundry Machinery, Inc. v. State, 190 Conn. 212, 217, 459 A.2d 1031 (1983). The following items are therefore deemed admitted: The status of the plaintiffs; the submission of a personnel req......
  • Ganim v. Smith & Wesson Corp., (SC 16465)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 9 Octubre 2001
    ...722 A.2d 271 (1999). That principle does not apply, however, to legal conclusions alleged. American Laundry Machinery, Inc. v. State, 190 Conn. 212, 217, 459 A.2d 1031 (1983). The plaintiffs' allegations, including all facts necessarily implied therefrom, are as The plaintiffs made a number......
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