Michaud v. Fitzryk

Decision Date09 June 1961
Citation148 Conn. 447,171 A.2d 397
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesIna M. MICHAUD v. John FITZRYK et al. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Robert E. Mansfield, Hartford, with whom was William J. Shea, Jr., Hartford, for appellants (defendants).

John F. Downes, New Britain, with whom was William A. Keefe, New Britain, for appellee (plaintiff).

Before BALDWIN, C. J., KING and MURPHY, JJ., and BORDON and TROLAND, Superior Court Judges.

MURPHY, Associate Justice.

The plaintiff, a tenant of the defendants, sustained injuries on May 7, 1956, when she tripped over a low wire fence which separated the lawn on their property from the public sidewalk. During the trial, the defendants unsuccessfully sought to introduce in evidence a written statement which the plaintiff had executed in the presence of her husband on May 22, 1956, and which was contradictory to her testimony. Upon objection, the trial court ruled that the statement was not admissible because it did not contain the name and address of the person who took it, as required by the 1959 Public Acts, No. 541 (General Statutes § 52-147).

In 1956, when the statement in question was taken, it complied with the statute then in force, which required merely that in order for such a statement to be admissible in evidence, a copy of it had to be retained by the maker or delivered to him within thirty days. Rev.1919, § 7870. When that statute, which became § 52-147 of the 1958 Revision, was repealed by Public Act No. 541 in 1959 and the substitute adopted, the requirement was added that the name and address of the person taking the statement had to appear on it.

The defendants alleged a special defense of contributory negligence. It was incumbent on them, having alleged it, to prove it. General Statutes § 52-114. The defense of contributory negligence constituted a substantive right of the defendants which they were prevented from proving by the action of the court in giving retroactive effect to the 1959 act. Since this legislation had no specific and unequivocal language making it applicable to pending actions, it should not have been given that effect. General Statutes §§ 1-1, 55-3; Reese v. Reese, 136 Conn. 191, 194, 70 A.2d 123; State v. Jones, 132 Conn. 682, 684, 47 A.2d 185; E. M. Loew's Enterprises, Inc. v. International Alliance, 127 Conn. 415, 418, 17 A.2d 525; Field v. Witt Tire Co., 2 Cir., 200 F.2d 74, 77. Retrospective laws generally, if not universally, work injustice. Statutes should be...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 cases
  • Schurgast v. Schumann
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • May 21, 1968
    ...that legislation is not to be applied retroactively unless the legislature clearly expresses such an intent. Michaud v. Fitzryk, 148 Conn. 447, 448, 171 A.2d 397; E. M. Loew's Enterprises, Inc. v. International Alliance 127 Conn. 415, 418, 17 A.2d 525, 527; Massa v. Nastri, 125 Conn. 144, 1......
  • Lavieri v. Ulysses
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 5, 1962
    ...that legislation is not to be applied retroactively unless the legislature clearly expresses such an intent. Michaud v. Fitzryk, 148 Conn. 447, 448, 171 A.2d 397; E. M. Loew's Enterprises, Inc. v. International Alliance, 127 Conn. 415, 418, 17 A.2d 525, 527; Massa v. Nastri, 125 Conn. 144, ......
  • Judicial Inquiry No. 85-01, In re
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 14, 1992
    ...the legislature is imperative.' Adamchek v. Board of Education, 174 Conn. 366, 369, 387 A.2d 556 (1978), quoting Michaud v. Fitzryk, 148 Conn. 447, 449, 171 A.2d 397 (1961); see New Haven v. Public Utilities Commission, 165 Conn. 687, 726, 345 A.2d 563 (1974); Little v. Ives, 158 Conn. 452,......
  • Neiditz v. Morton S. Fine and Associates, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • May 20, 1986
    ...expressly so declared. American Masons' Supply Co. v. F.W. Brown Co., 174 Conn. 219, 222-23, 384 A.2d 378 (1978); Michaud v. Fitzryk, 148 Conn. 447, 449, 171 A.2d 397 (1961). The amendment to § 37-3a, raising the statutory interest rate to 8 percent, clearly effectuates a substantial change......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT