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Insurance Law

Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5200

AC44393 - DAB Three, LLC v. Fitzpatrick

AC44393 - Fischer v. Lawyers Title Corp. ("The plaintiff Alan Fischer appeals from the summary judgments rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation (LTIC) and Sandra Fitzpatrick on the plaintiff's complaints filed in two actions. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court incorrectly determined that both of his complaints were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgments of the court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5144

AC44424 - Harrigan v. Fidelity National Title Ins. Co. (The plaintiff, Paul Harrigan, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, following a bench trial, rendered in part in favor of the defendant, Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, in connection with a title insurance policy (title policy) issued by the defendant to the plaintiff. On appeal, the plaintiff challenges the judgment in favor of the defendant only with respect to count two of the operative complaint, the third revised complaint, which alleges that the defendant's conduct in handling an insurance claim filed by the plaintiff pursuant to the title policy violated the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA); General Statutes § 38a-815 et seq.; and that such unfair and deceptive acts or practices of the defendant thereby violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. Specifically, the plaintiff claims on appeal that (1) the court applied an incorrect standard in its analysis of whether the defendant violated CUIPA by requiring a finding of common-law bad faith by the defendant for the plaintiff to establish a violation of CUIPA, (2) when the proper standard is applied, the record sufficiently demonstrates that the defendant violated the relevant provisions of CUIPA, and (3) the evidence submitted by the plaintiff establishes that the defendant's unfair practices were part of a general business practice, as required under General Statutes § 38a-816 (6). We affirm the judgment of the court, albeit on different grounds.")

AC44560 - Pollard v. Geico General Ins. Co. (The plaintiff, Michelle J. Pollard, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Geico General Insurance Company, on the plaintiff's complaint seeking to recover underinsured motorist benefits. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly determined that the accidental failure of suit statute, General Statutes § 52-592 (a), did not apply so as to revive her otherwise time barred action. The defendant counters that summary judgment was appropriately rendered and asserts, as an alternative ground for affirmance of the court's judgment, that the plaintiff's action was barred because she failed under the terms of the parties' insurance policy to commence suit timely or to invoke the policy's tolling provision. We agree with the defendant's alternative argument and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court on that basis.)


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5017

AC44106 - Kinity v. US Bancorp ("After the trial court granted the defendants' separate motions for summary judgment on the grounds that none of the plaintiff's untimely claims was saved by the accidental failure of suit statute or the continuing course of conduct doctrine, and thus that all of them were barred by applicable statutes of limitations, and that his remaining claims failed as a matter of law, the plaintiff appealed to this court. On appeal, the plaintiff claims, inter alia, that the trial court erred in ruling that (1) the accidental failure of suit statute did not save any of his untimely claims because his original action was never 'commenced,' and thus could not be saved under the authority of that statute, (2) the continuing course of conduct doctrine did not apply to any of his untimely claims because there was no special relationship between himself and any defendant that would impose a continuing duty to him on any defendant, (3) the bank defendants and the insurance company defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiff's claims of breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing against them, and (4) the insurance company defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiff's claim of negligent misrepresentation against them.

Thereafter, while this appeal was pending, the plaintiff filed an amended appeal from a postjudgment order of the trial court granting the insurance company defendants' motion to enforce settlement agreement, claiming that (1) the court had no authority to summarily enforce such an agreement after the case it purported to settle had gone to judgment, and (2) even if it had such authority, it could not exercise that authority in this case because the parties had not entered into a clear, unambiguous, and enforceable settlement agreement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and its postjudgment order enforcing the settlement agreement.")

AC44232 - Russbach v. Yanez-Ventura ("In this insurance coverage dispute, the substitute plaintiffs, Kristina Bakes and Marlene Esposito, coadministrators of the estate of Daniel Russbach (decedent), appeal from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant Wesco Insurance Company. On appeal, the plaintiffs contend that the court improperly concluded that (1) the defendant's failure to comply with the statutory requirements of General Statutes § 38a-336 (a) (2) was excused under the particular facts of this case and (2) the insurance policy in question provided for standard, rather than conversion, insurance coverage. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5003

AC43969 - Epright v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. ("In its writ of error, the plaintiff in error claims that the sanctions order issued by the trial court was improper because, among other things, (1) the plaintiff in error complied with the rules of practice governing the disclosure of expert witnesses, (2) no rule of practice prohibited the ex parte communications here at issue, and (3) the prerequisites necessary to justify imposition of a discovery sanction were not satisfied in this instance.The plaintiff in error also argues that, to the extent the rules of practice are interpreted to prohibit the ex parte communications in question, the rules are unconstitutionally vague because they fail to provide adequate notice that such communications are prohibited. Because we conclude that our rules of practice do not clearly prohibit ex parte communications between an attorney for a party and a testifying expert witness previously disclosed by an opposing party, the order of sanctions in this case cannot stand. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")

AC44127 - Ghio v. Liberty Ins. Underwriters, Inc. ("In this writ of error, the insureds claim that the court improperly concluded that they waived the attorney-client privilege because (1) the communications were produced pursuant to a court order, (2) Liberty had a duty to preserve the privilege and, therefore, could not have waived the insureds' privilege by producing the communications, and (3) the court abused its discretion in finding that the privilege was waived without holding an evidentiary hearing or reviewing the relevant communications. We agree with the insureds' final claim and, accordingly, grant the writ of error and remand the case for an evidentiary hearing.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4934

AC44292 - Kling v. Hartford Casualty Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Michael Kling, appeals from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, Hartford Casualty Insurance Company. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in concluding that the defendant did not owe a duty to defend its insured, Newton Carroll doing business as Elm City Kettle Corn Company (Elm City), in connection with injuries that the plaintiff suffered as a result of Carroll's and Elm City's negligence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4911

SC20556 - Dorfman v. Smith ("This appeal requires that we examine the scope of the litigation privilege, which provides absolute immunity from suit, in relation to alleged misconduct by an insurance company. The plaintiff, Tamara Dorfman, appeals from that part of the trial court's judgment dismissing her claims against the defendant Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA); General Statutes § 42-110a et seq.; based on a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA), General Statutes § 38a-815 et seq. The trial court dismissed these claims on the ground that the litigation privilege deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction over these claims. The plaintiff argues that, because these claims were the functional equivalent of claims for vexatious litigation, the litigation privilege did not apply. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

SC20556 Concurrence & Dissent - Dorfman v. Smith

AC43956 - Pizzoferrato v. Community Renewal Team, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Gail Pizzoferrato, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open and vacate the judgment of the court rendered in favor of the defendant, Community Renewal Team, Inc., in accordance with a decision of an arbitrator that resulted from court-annexed arbitration.On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly denied her motion because the language of both General Statutes § 52-549z and Practice Book § 23-66 require that a decision of an arbitrator be sent to the parties both electronically and by mail before it can become a judgment of the court. Because notice of the arbitrator's decision was never sent to the parties or their counsel by mail in the present case, the plaintiff argues that the judgment of the court, rendered on the basis of the arbitrator's decision, should be vacated. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the court.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4901

AC43421 - Kellogg v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co. ("The defendant, Middlesex Mutual Assurance Company, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion for summary judgment on the second revised and amended complaint filed by the plaintiff, Sally Kellogg, in which she raised claims of breach of contract, a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., arising from a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA), General Statutes § 38a-815 et seq., and promissory estoppel. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly denied its motion for summary judgment because (1) the breach of contract claim was barred pursuant to (a) the doctrine of res judicata and (b) the suit limitation provision of a "restorationist" property insurance policy issued by the defendant, (2) the CUTPA/CUIPA claim (a) was barred pursuant to General Statutes § 42-110g (f), the applicable statute of limitations, and (b) failed as a matter of law, and (3) the promissory estoppel claim (a) was barred pursuant to the suit limitation provision of the policy and (b) failed as a matter of law. We 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=4864

AC43826 - Epright v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Jacqueline Epright, appeals from the trial court's granting of the motion to disqualify James W. Depuy as an expert witness, filed by the defendant, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, as a motion for order to show cause. Because such an interlocutory order does not satisfy either prong of the test set forth in State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983), and, therefore, is not a final judgment for purposes of appeal, the plaintiff's appeal is dismissed.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Slip Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4862

SC20586 - Allstate Ins. Co. v. Tenn ("The question in this case is whether the plaintiff, Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate), can use a plea of nolo contendere entered by the named defendant, Donte Tenn, to trigger a criminal acts exclusion in a homeowners insurance policy governed by Connecticut law. Allstate commenced the present action against Tenn and another defendant, Tailan Moscaritolo, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeking a judgment declaring that it has no contractual duty either to defend or to indemnify Tenn in a civil action brought against Tenn by Moscaritolo in Connecticut Superior Court. Allstate subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment in this declaratory judgment action, arguing that Tenn’s plea of nolo contendere relieved it of its duty both to defend and to indemnify him as a matter of law. The parties agreed that a ruling on Allstate’s motion with respect to indemnification would be premature, and, as a result, the District Court denied Allstate’s motion with respect to that issue without prejudice. The only remaining question, which the District Court, in turn, certified to this court pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199b (d) and Practice Book § 82-1, is whether Tenn’s plea of nolo contendere relieved Allstate of its duty to defend by triggering the policy’s criminal acts exclusion as a matter of law. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that Tenn’s plea of nolo contendere is inadmissible to prove the occurrence of a criminal act and, therefore, cannot be used to trigger the policy’s criminal acts exclusion.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4847

AC44215 - O'Donnell v. Axa Equitable Life Ins., Co. ("In this putative class action, the plaintiff, Richard T. O'Donnell, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered after it granted the motion filed by the defendant, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, for entry of judgment on the plaintiff's stricken complaint. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that his amended complaint (1) was not 'materially different' from his original complaint and (2) failed to adequately allege that the defendant's actions caused him damages. We agree with the plaintiff, and, accordingly, we 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=4825

AC44114 - DiTullio v. LM General Ins. Co. ("This appeal concerns an arbitration award (award) that arose out of an underinsured motorist cause of action. The plaintiff, Gabrielle DiTullio, appeals from the judgment of the trial court 'confirming the arbitration award with a deduction for the $20,000 offset to clarify the amount to be awarded is $12,500 in accordance with the law.' (Emphasis added.) On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly deducted $20,000 from the award because the court (1) lacked statutory authority to do so, as the defendant, LM General Insurance Company, failed to file a motion to modify, correct, or vacate the award pursuant to General Statutes § 52-407tt, § 52-407xx, or § 52-407ww, and also (2) lacked common-law authority to do so. We conclude that the deduction was proper, but on different grounds than those relied upon by the court. The court had authority to deduct the $20,000 settlement from the tortfeasor from the full value arbitration award to conform the award to the parties' written agreement. The court, however, miscalculated the amount of the judgment, and thus, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Insurance Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4794

SC20451 - Klass v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. ("Connecticut's insurance law provides that, '[w]hen a covered loss for real property requires the replacement of an item or items and the replacement item or items do not match adjacent items in quality, color or size, the insurer shall replace all such items with material of like kind and quality so as to conform to a reasonably uniform appearance.' General Statutes § 38a-316e (a) (matching statute). The principal issue in this case is whether a dispute as to the extent of an insurer's replacement obligation under the matching statute is a question properly relegated to the appraisal arbitral process or a question of coverage to be resolved by the court in the first instance before appraisal may proceed. The defendant, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, appeals from the trial court's judgment granting the application of the plaintiff, Karl Klass, to compel appraisal with regard to such a dispute. We affirm the trial court's judgment.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4762

AC43470 - Lippi v. United Services Automobile Assn. ("The plaintiffs, Kris J. Lippi and Gina M. Lippi, appeal from the trial court's rendering of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, United Services Automobile Association, on the plaintiffs' two count complaint that alleged breach of an insurance policy and extracontractual claims. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred by improperly granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4683

AC42342 - Menard v. State ("In these underinsured motorist matters, the plaintiffs, Scott Menard and Darren Connolly, jointly appeal, and the defendant, the state of Connecticut, cross appeals, from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiffs following a bench trial.In addition, the state cross appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of a third plaintiff, Robert Zdrojeski, after the bench trial. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court improperly (1) declined to award them damages in relation to the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that they purportedly developed, and (2) reduced their damages by the sums of workers' compensation benefits that they had received.On cross appeal, the state claims that the court improperly declined to reduce the plaintiffs' damages by the sums that they had recovered pursuant to the Connecticut Dram Shop Act (dram shop act), General Statutes § 30-102.We dismiss, sua sponte, the plaintiffs' original joint appeal for lack of a final judgment.See part I of this opinion.As for the amended joint appeal and the cross appeal, we (1) reverse the judgments rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and (2) affirm the judgment rendered in favor of Zdrojeski.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4597

AC43755 - Lift-Up, Inc. v. Colony Ins. Co. ("In this declaratory judgment action, the substitute plaintiffs, Dennis Kinman (Kinman) and Amy Kinman (jointly, Kinmans), appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant Colony Insurance Company (Colony) on the Kinmans' amended complaint and Colony's counterclaim.The litigation centers on whether Colony had a duty to defend the original plaintiffs, Lift-Up, Inc. (Lift-Up) and its president, Bruce Kutner, in a personal injury action that the Kinmans had brought against them. On appeal, the Kinmans' principal claim is that in granting Colony's motion for summary judgment, the court improperly construed the allegations of the operative complaint and the terms of the garage liability policy that Colony had issued to Lift-Up.More to the point, the Kinmans claim that the court improperly concluded as a matter of law that their injuries were not caused by an accident that resulted from Lift-Up's garage operations but, rather, arose out of Kutner's assault, battery, or assault and battery, for which the policy provides no coverage. The Kinmans also claim that the court improperly (1) ignored extrinsic evidence that they argue supported their claim that Colony had a duty to defend and (2) predicated its ruling on allegations of intentional and/or reckless conduct that were properly pleaded in the alternative. 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=4542

AC43984 - Warzecha v. USAA Casulty Ins. Co. ("The plaintiff, Keith Warzecha, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court, Noble, J., in favor of the defendant, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, on the plaintiff's two count amended complaint, which alleged breach of contract and sought a declaratory judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in concluding that he was not entitled to liability coverage under the terms of his insurance policy. 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=4495

AC43361 - Finley v. Western Express, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Montavious Finley, brought the underlying action against the defendants, Western Express, Inc. (Western Express), and National Casualty Company (National Casualty), seeking to recover uninsured motorist benefits. The plaintiff appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff claims that the court misinterpreted applicable Connecticut law and disregarded public policy in concluding as a matter of law that the automobile insurance policy under which he sought to recover did not provide uninsured motorist coverage to him. Because the plaintiff has failed to challenge an independent basis for the court's ruling, we conclude that the appeal is moot. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.")


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4455

AC43376 - Marco v. Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. ("The plaintiff, Lindsey Marco, appeals from the judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, Starr Indemnity and Liability Company, on the ground that the defendant had no duty to defend its insured, Copa Entertainment Group, LLC (Copa Entertainment), the owner and operator of Zen Bar (bar), the location where the plaintiff had sustained injuries for which she had been awarded damages by an arbitrator in a separate action (underlying action). On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court (1) erred in ordering a court trial on the legal issue of whether the defendant had a duty to defend Copa Entertainment when summary judgment previously had been denied on that issue, (2) improperly deprived her of a jury trial on the issue of whether the defendant had a duty to defend its insured, and (3) should have recused itself from this case to avoid the appearance of impropriety after it was involved in pretrial settlement negotiations. 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=4276

AC42774 - A & R Enterprises, LLC v. Sentinel Ins. Co., Ltd. ("In this action seeking recovery of the cost to repair a motor vehicle that was damaged in an accident, the plaintiff, A & R Enterprises, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a court trial, denying its claim for the full cost of the repairs on the ground that the insured, Creative Electric, LLC (insured), which assigned its rights to the plaintiff, failed to comply with the voluntary payment provision of the insurance policy pursuant to which the plaintiff sought recovery from the defendant, Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred by (1) concluding that the recovery of the full cost of the repairs was precluded by the insured's failure to comply with the voluntary payment provision and (2) rejecting its claim that the defendant's reliance on that provision constituted an improper attempt to steer the insured to the defendant's preferred auto body repair shop in violation of General Statutes § 38a-354 (b). 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=4246

AC41537, AC41538, AC42613 - Continental Casualty Co. v. Rohr, Inc. ("These appeals and cross appeal involve issues relating to whether certain umbrella and excess policies issued by the plaintiff and defendant insurers provide coverage for environmental property damage remediation claims brought against the named defendant, Rohr, Inc. (Rohr)."
...

"For the reasons discussed more fully herein, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")