It is commonly understood that Connecticut is mainly a “fact-pleading” state when it comes to the court system.
What does that mean? Well, Norm Pattis, in a 2013 Law Tribune column, described the significance in calling for the state to change the way plaintiffs file their lawsuits.
You recall the distinction, don’t you, between notice pleading and fact pleading? We notice plead in the federal courts. All that is required is a short and plain statement of the plaintiff’s legal theory and such facts as are sufficient to put the defendant on notice of the claim for relief and its basis.
Not so in state court. In state court, we require fact pleading. This invites the sort of gamesmanship among litigators that yields nothing but delay. …
Plead too many facts? Endure the request to revise for pleading repetitive, scandalous and irrelevant facts. Plead lean? Well, of course, a motion to strike, not enough facts to make a claim. Famed litigator Gerry Spence was once sanctioned outing such tactics with frank speech: Let’s just say he accused a lawyer of finger-fornicating a file. Get the point?
Although the plaintiff’s complaint was certainly not a model of clarity, it is clear that the defendant understood that the plaintiff’s allegations regarding [the co-worker]’s conduct were intended to raise a hostile work environment claim pursuant to § 46a-60 (a) (8) (C), because that is the theory that the defendant attempted to discredit on the merits in its motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff confirmed the defendant’s understanding when she contended in her opposition to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment that she had established a genuine issue of material fact as to whether [the co-worker]’s conduct had worsened her “working environment. . . .” Thus, contrary to the Appellate Court’s conclusion that the trial court simply assumed without any basis that the plaintiff had intended to bring a hostile work environment claim, the trial court was merely addressing the issue as it had been framed by the parties. “[A]lthough a plaintiff should plead a statute [on which the plaintiff intends to rely] in a complaint . . . failing to do so will not necessarily bar recovery as long as the [defendant is] sufficiently apprised of the applicable statute during the course of the proceedings.” … Because the defendant understood the nature of the plaintiff’s sexual harassment claim, we conclude that the Appellate Court improperly upheld the ruling of the trial court on the alternative ground that the plaintiff had not expressly pleaded § 46a-60 (a) (8) (C).”