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Insurance Law

Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3702

SC20000, SC20001, SC20003 - R.T. Vanderbilt Co., Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. ("These certified appeals, which present us with several significant questions of insurance law, arise from coverage disputes between the plaintiff, R.T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc. (Vanderbilt), and the defendants, who are numerous insurance companies (insurer defendants) that issued primary and secondary comprehensive general liability insurance policies to Vanderbilt between 1948 and 2008, stemming from thousands of underlying lawsuits alleging injuries from exposure to industrial talc containing asbestos that Vanderbilt mined and sold. Vanderbilt and the insurer defendants appeal, upon our granting of their petitions for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming in part and reversing in part numerous interlocutory decisions made by the trial court in connection with the first and second phases of a complex trial between the parties. R.T. Vanderbilt Co. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., 171 Conn. App. 61, 75–76, 156 A.3d 539 (2017). On appeal, the insurer defendants claim that the Appellate Court improperly (1) upheld the trial court's adoption of a 'continuous trigger' theory of coverage for asbestos related disease claims as a matter of law and the trial court's related preclusion of expert testimony on current medical science regarding the actual timing of bodily injury from such disease, (2) upheld the trial court's adoption of an 'unavailability of insurance' exception to the 'time on the risk' rule of contract law, which provides for pro rata allocation of defense costs and indemnity for asbestos related disease claims, and (3) interpreted pollution exclusion clauses in certain insurance policies as applicable only to claims arising from 'traditional' environmental pollution, rather than to those arising from asbestos exposure in indoor working environments. In its appeal, Vanderbilt claims that the Appellate Court improperly construed occupational disease exclusions present in certain policies as not limited to claims brought by Vanderbilt's own employees. Because we conclude that the Appellate Court's comprehensive opinion properly resolved these significant issues, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3693

AC40864 - R & P Realty Co. v. Peerless Indemnity Ins. Co. ("The plaintiffs, R & P Realty Company and Unger's Floor Covering, Inc., appeal from the judgment of the trial court, following a court trial, rendered in favor of the defendant, Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company, on count one of their operative complaint sounding in breach of contract. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court erred in concluding that the defendant did not breach the parties' casualty insurance policy by declining to pay for the increased costs of demolition resulting from the presence of asbestos and lead within the insured property, which the plaintiffs discovered after the defendant had remitted an initial insurance payout to which the parties agreed. We conclude that the record is inadequate for our review, and, accordingly, we decline to review the plaintiffs' claim and, thus, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3663

AC40999 - Amica Mutual Ins. Co. v. Levine ("This declaratory judgment action arises from an automobile crash that occurred in 2010 involving the defendant, Michelle Levine. The defendant appeals from the trial court's rendering of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the Amica Mutual Insurance Company. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred when it concluded that (1) the provision in the plaintiff's automobile insurance policy requiring the defendant to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) at the plaintiff's request was not void as against public policy, (2) the provision requiring the defendant to undergo an IME was reasonable and the defendant's refusal to attend was unreasonable, (3) the defendant had breached the policy's cooperation clause for failing to attend the IME because that determination was predicated on an improper allocation of the burden of proof, and (4) there was no issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff properly had reserved its rights to bring the present action. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3653

SC19968 - Riley v. Travelers Home & Marine Ins. Co. ("This appeal concerns a question of civil procedure arising when a jury returns a verdict in favor of the plaintiff that the defendant claims was not supported by sufficient evidence presented during the plaintiff's case-in-chief. Under what has come to be known as the waiver rule, 'when a trial court denies a defendant's motion for a directed verdict at the close of the plaintiff's case, the defendant, by opting to introduce evidence in his or her own behalf, waives the right to appeal the trial court's ruling.' Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Board of Tax Review, 241 Conn. 749, 756–57, 699 A.2d 81 (1997). The defendant, The Traveler's Home and Marine Insurance Company, contends that the waiver rule is inapplicable to civil cases in which a trial court reserves decision on a motion for a directed verdict pursuant to Practice Book § 16-37. We disagree and conclude that the waiver rule is applicable regardless of whether a motion for a directed verdict has been reserved for decision or denied. Thus, a court reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a jury's verdict must consider all of the evidence considered by the jury returning the verdict, not just the evidence presented in the plaintiff's case-in-chief.

The plaintiff, C. Andrew Riley, commenced this action against the defendant for breach of contract and negligent infliction of emotional distress stemming from the defendant's handling of the plaintiff's homeowner's insurance claim. At the close of the plaintiff's case-in-chief, the defendant moved for a directed verdict on the plaintiff's negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, and the trial court reserved decision on that motion. The defendant then presented evidence in its defense, some of which supported the plaintiff's contention that the defendant had been negligent in its investigation of his homeowner's insurance claim. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff on both counts. The defendant timely moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, renewing its motion for a directed verdict and requesting the court to set aside the verdict on the claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress and render judgment for the defendant. The trial court, relying primarily on evidence that emerged during the defendant's case, determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict and denied the defendant's motion. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's judgment; Riley v. Travelers Home & Marine Ins. Co., 173 Conn. App. 422, 462, 163 A.3d 1246 (2017); and we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3650

AC41130 - Gaddy v. Mount Vernon Fire Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Charles H. Gaddy, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company and United States Liability Insurance Group. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that his claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. We disagree.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3508

AC41429 - Hilario Truck Center, LLC v. Kohn ("The plaintiff, Hilario Truck Center, LLC, appeals from the judgment of dismissal of the third count of its operative complaint following the granting of the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate). The plaintiff argues that the court erred when it concluded that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring a claim as a third-party beneficiary against Allstate pursuant to an automobile insurance policy issued to the defendant Kevin E. Kohn. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3503

AC41450 - Viking Construction, Inc. v. 777 Residential, LLC ("The cross claim defendant, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (Liberty Mutual), appeals from the summary judgment rendered against it in favor of the cross claim plaintiffs, 777 Main Street, LLC (777 Main) and 777 Residential, LLC (777 Residential). On appeal, Liberty Mutual argues that the trial court erred in granting the 777 entities' motion for summary judgment on their cross claim and in denying Liberty Mutual's motion for summary judgment, on the basis of its interpretation of the insurance policy issued by Liberty Mutual to the 777 entities. Specifically, Liberty Mutual argues that (1) the defects, errors, and omissions exclusion in the insurance policy bars coverage, and (2) the resulting loss clause in the policy does not reinstate coverage. We agree with Liberty Mutual and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3465

AC41553 - Liberty Transportation, Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Liberty Transportation, Inc., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant, Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company. The dispositive issue in the appeal is whether the court properly concluded that the plaintiff lacked standing to commence this action. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3460

AC40081 - Benistar Employer Services Trust Co. v. Benincasa ("The plaintiffs, Benistar Employer Services Trust Company (BESTCO) and Benistar Admin Services, Inc. (BASI), appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying their application to vacate and granting a motion to confirm an arbitration award in favor of the defendants, James J. Benincasa and Jody L. Benincasa. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly denied the application to vacate the arbitration award because the award was (1) not timely issued, (2) predicated on a manifest disregard of the law, (3) not mutual, final and definite, and (4) in violation of public policy. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40166 - Nova Benefit Plans, LLC v. Mortgages Unlimited, Inc. ("The plaintiffs, Nova Benefit Plans, LLC, for the Grist Mill Trust, Benistar 419 Plan Services, Inc., for Benistar 419 Plan and Trust, Benistar Admin Services, Inc., and Daniel Carpenter appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying their application to vacate and confirming an arbitration award in favor of the defendants, James J. Benincasa, Jody L. Benincasa, and Mortgages Unlimited, Inc. The plaintiffs claim on appeal that the trial court improperly confirmed the award that was predicated on a prior related arbitration award, which, the plaintiffs argue, constituted a manifest disregard of the law. This court determined in Benistar Employer Services Trust Co. v. Benincasa, 189 Conn. App. ___, ___ A.3d ___ (2019), also released today, that the prior arbitration award did not constitute a manifest disregard of the law. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3450

SC20130 - Essex Ins. Co. v. William Kramer & Associates, LLC (Negligence; "This case, which comes to us on certification from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; see General Statutes § 51-199b (d); requires us to consider the applicability of our continuing course of conduct tolling doctrine to a relationship between an insurance company and its independent claims adjuster in the period after an insured's claim has been fully paid. The plaintiff insurer, Essex Insurance Company, brought a negligence action against the defendant claims adjuster, William Kramer & Associates, LLC, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleging that the defendant had breached its duty to advise the plaintiff of a mortgage on the insured property before the plaintiff issued the final claim payment check to the insured for hurricane related damage, thereby causing the plaintiff to incur liability to the mortgagee. The plaintiff contended that the limitation period for commencing an action was tolled until the defendant discovered and produced a document in one of its files that reflected the mortgagee's interest during the course of litigation between the mortgagee and the plaintiff. The District Court set aside the jury's verdict in favor of the plaintiff on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that a continuing course of conduct tolled the otherwise untimely filed action. See Essex Ins. Co. v. William Kramer & Associates, LLC, United States District Court, Docket No. 3:13-cv-1537 (MPS) (D. Conn. June 8, 2016). The Second Circuit concluded that Connecticut law regarding the contours of this tolling doctrine is unclear and sought our advice as to whether the evidence is legally sufficient to support the jury's finding. See Evanston Ins. Co. v. William Kramer & Associates, LLC, 890 F.3d 40 (2018). We conclude that the evidence is not legally sufficient to toll the statute of limitations on this factual record. ")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3259

AC40174 - Gabriel v. Mount Vernon Fire Ins. Co. ("The defendant, Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiffs, Domingos Gabriel and his wife, Laurinda Gabriel. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) finding that the plaintiffs' primary insurance policy qualified as an underlying policy entitling the plaintiffs to excess coverage; (2) finding that the business exception of the plaintiffs' umbrella insurance policy did not apply; and (3) its determination of damages. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3148

AC40643 - Government Employees Ins. Co. v. Barros ("The defendants, Arly Barros and Anthony’s Services, LLC, appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Government Employees Insurance Company, on its claim for equitable subrogation. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court erred by concluding that the statute of limitations set forth in General Statutes § 52-577 or General Statutes § 52-584 does not apply to bar the plaintiff’s claim for equitable subrogation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3141

AC39217 - Carson v. Allianz Life Ins. Co. of North America ("The plaintiff, Elizabeth Carson, Trustee, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly concluded that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether her action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that fraudulent concealment on the part of the defendant’s agent, David Faubert, and the continuing course of conduct doctrine tolled the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3121

SC20020, SC20021 - Tannone v. Amica Mutual Ins. Co. ("In these appeals, we again consider whether an automobile insurance policy containing underinsured motorist coverage, as required by state law, can validly exclude benefits to the insured when the owner of the underinsured vehicle is a rental car company designated as a ‘self-insurer’ by the Insurance Commissioner (commissioner) pursuant to General Statutes § 38a-371 (c). We first addressed this issue in Orkney v. Hanover Ins. Co., 248 Conn. 195, 202–206, 727 A.2d 700 (1999), and upheld the validity of § 38a-334-6 (c) (2) (B) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, which authorizes an exclusion from the underinsured motorist coverage requirement for ‘uninured or underinsured vehicle[s] . . . owned by . . . a self-insurer under any motor vehicle law . . . .’ We came to this conclusion because self-insurers are statutorily required to prove their ability to pay judgments when liable, rendering underinsurance coverage unnecessary in those situations. Orkney v. Hanover Ins. Co., supra, 204–206; see General Statutes §§ 14-129 (b) and 38a-371 (c). Therefore, we decided in Orkney that there was ‘nothing inconsistent between the public policy underlying underinsured motorist coverage and a regulation that permits a coverage exclusion’ for vehicles owned by self-insurers. Orkney v. Hanover Ins. Co., supra, 206.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3099

AC39966 - Hilario's Truck Center, LLC v. Rinaldi ("The principal issue in this appeal is whether a company that provided automobile towing services to an insured motorist has standing as a third-party beneficiary to bring a direct breach of contract action against the insurance company that provided automobile liability coverage to the insured. We conclude, under the circumstances of this case, that the company is not an intended third-party beneficiary of the insurance contract and therefore lacks standing to bring a direct action against the insurer.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3076

AC39834 - DAB Three, LLC v. LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc.("In this action arising from the alleged breach of contract for the procurement of an environmental insurance policy, the plaintiff, DAB Three, LLC, appeals from the judgments rendered in favor of the defendants LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. (LFG), LandAmerica Environmental Insurance Service Agency, Inc. (LEISA), Sandra Fitzpatrick, and Debra Moser. The plaintiff claims that the trial court erred (1) in dismissing its breach of contract claim against LFG for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and (2) in rendering summary judgment in favor of LEISA, Fitzpatrick and Moser on the plaintiff’s breach of contract claims against them. We agree with the plaintiff that the summary judgment rendered in favor of LEISA cannot stand. We disagree, however, with the plaintiff’s claims of error as to the dismissal of its claim against LFG and the rendering of summary judgments in favor of Fitzpatrick and Moser. Accordingly, we reverse in part and affirm in part the judgments of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3036

SC19964 - Samelko v. Kingstone Ins. Co. ("In this case, we must decide whether a Connecticut court may properly exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state insurer whose only significant contacts with this state are the inclusion of Connecticut within the coverage territory of an automobile insurance policy and the occurrence of an automobile collision in Connecticut involving its insured. The defendant, Kingstone Insurance Company, a company domiciled in New York, contractually agreed to defend and indemnify its insured nationwide. After a vehicle driven by the insured collided in Connecticut with a vehicle driven by the plaintiffs, Jerzy and Sylvia Samelko, however, the defendant failed to defend its insured and failed to provide indemnity after a judgment was rendered against the insured for damages resulting from the collision. The plaintiffs were subrogated to the rights of the insured under the policy issued by the defendant pursuant to General Statutes § 38a-321 and brought this action directly against the defendant to recover damages.

"The trial court dismissed the action on the ground that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. We conclude, however, that exercising personal jurisdiction over the defendant insurer is permitted by our corporate long arm statute, General Statutes § 33-929 (f) (1), and comports with the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United Statutes Constitution. See U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1. Accordingly, we disagree with the trial court's contrary conclusion and, therefore, reverse and remand the case with direction to deny the defendant’s motion to dismiss and for further proceedings."


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3002

AC39738 - General Ins. Co. of America v. Okeke ("In this declaratory action, the defendants Agatha Okeke and her son, Michael Okeke, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, General Insurance Company of America. The defendants claim that the court improperly concluded (1) that the plaintiff did not owe a duty to defend and indemnify them in certain judicial proceedings, and (2) that the plaintiff’s claim against Michael was not moot. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39708 - Puente v. Progressive Northwestern Ins. Co. ("In this action to recover underinsured motorist benefits pursuant to an insurance policy issued by the defendant, Progressive Northwestern Insurance Company, to Wilson Roofing, LLC (Wilson Roofing), the plaintiff, Wilson Puente, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted the motion because a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding whether (1) he was a named ‘insured’ within the meaning of the policy issued to Wilson Roofing or (2) even if he was not the named insured, he is still entitled to recover pursuant to the policy because he was ‘occupying’ a vehicle covered by the policy when he sustained his injuries. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Landlord / Tenant Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=2942

SC19794 - Amica Mutual Ins. Co. v Muldowney ("This appeal concerns the right of a landlord’s insurer to use the doctrine of equitable subrogation to bring an action against a tenant for damage the tenant caused to the rented property. In DiLullo v. Joseph, 259 Conn. 847, 851, 854, 792 A.2d 819 (2002), this court announced a ‘default rule,’ pursuant to which a landlord’s insurer has no right of subrogation unless the landlord and tenant have made a ‘specific agreement’ otherwise, ‘leaving it to the specific agreement of the parties if they wish a different rule to apply to their, or their insurers’, relationship.’ In the present case, the parties dispute what sort of ‘specific agreement’ is required to overcome DiLullo’s presumption against subrogation. Id., 854. Specifically, they disagree whether the lease must expressly state that a landlord’s insurer has a right of subrogation against the tenant, or whether it is sufficient for the lease to notify the tenant explicitly that he is responsible for any damage to the leased property and to allocate to the tenant the responsibility to provide liability and property damage insurance. The trial court and the Appellate Court both concluded that it was sufficient for the lease to allocate to the tenant responsibility for damage caused by the tenant and to require the tenant to obtain insurance, even without a specific agreement authorizing subrogation. We agree with those courts, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=866

SC19728 - Ridgaway v. Mount Vernon Fire Ins. Co. ("Trial court judges have the difficult task of maintaining order over the judicial proceedings before them and ensuring the integrity of those proceedings. To do so, judges have broad discretion to impose the sanctions necessary to ensure parties’ compliance with court orders and the rules of the court. In this certified appeal, the defendant, Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company, contends that the Appellate Court improperly determined that the trial court abused its discretion when it rendered a judgment of nonsuit against the plaintiffs, William P. Ridgaway, Sr., individually and as administrator of the estate of William P. Ridgaway, Jr., and Rita Grant, for their counsel’s conduct in relation to counsel’s failure to comply with an order of the court. The plaintiffs contend, as an alternative ground for affirmance, that the trial court based its sanction of nonsuit on facts that were not supported by the record. Although we agree with the plaintiffs that certain factual findings were not supported by the record, we cannot determine as a matter of law whether the trial court would have imposed the same sanction in the absence of those facts. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court insofar as that court reversed the judgment of nonsuit, but we direct that court to remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings to consider a sanction proportionate to the facts supported by the record.")


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