The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

by Roy, Christopher


AC36749, AC37140, AC37141, AC37142, AC37143, AC37144, AC37145, AC37146, AC37147, AC37148, AC37149, AC37150, AC37151 - R.T. Vanderbilt Co. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. ("The present action arises from thousands of underlying lawsuits alleging injuries from exposure to industrial talc mined and sold by the plaintiff, R.T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc. (Vanderbilt), that purportedly contained asbestos. In this interlocutory appeal, Vanderbilt and the defendants, approximately thirty insurance companies that issued comprehensive general liability insurance policies to Vanderbilt between 1948 and 2008, are seeking, among other things, a declaratory judgment determining their respective obligations with regard to the underlying actions. Through a series of bifurcation orders, the trial court, Shaban, J., divided the trial into four phases, and the case reaches us now, following the second phase of the trial, on the parties’ appeals and cross appeals from several decisions of the court. Before the trial proceeds further, the parties ask that we address approximately twenty issues—primarily questions of law—that will significantly impact the adjudication of the remaining trial phases. These issues present a number of questions of first impression in Connecticut and, in some instances, nationally. Although most relate to the methodology by which insurance obligations are to be allocated with respect to long latency asbestos related claims that implicate multiple policy periods, the parties also challenge the trial court’s rulings with respect to the interpretation of various scope of coverage and exclusion provisions in the Vanderbilt policies, whether certain of the primary policies have been exhausted, and other evidentiary and miscellaneous issues. As detailed more fully hereinafter, we affirm in part and reverse in part the rulings of the trial court.")