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The following summaries are intended to provide quick summaries of some aspects of recent CT legal developments on accident and insurance issues.  Most of these matters were not handled by Jackson O'Keefe, LLP.  The summaries are provided as a news summary only.  The summaries are not comprehensive, and readers are referred to the primary sources for full details.  These summaries are not legal advice.  You should consult with an attorney with regard to your situation.

PREMISES LIABILITY: Superior Court holds motorized carts not inherently dangerous, but opens door to possible negligent entrustment actions on motorized carts

7/11/2019 | Elizabeth Donoghue

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant Wal-Mart and the operator of the motorized cart.  The claims directed to the corporate defendant sounded in premises liability, mode of operation, and negligent entrustment.  After a bench trial on liability the court found on the mode of operation claim tha ...

PREMISES LIABILITY: Superior Court denies Summary Judgment where bulge in mat is deemed “chronic”:

7/11/2019 | Philip R. Dunn Jr.
prdunn@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff brought suit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. after she tripped and fell over a bulging mat in the vestibule of the store she claimed was negligently maintained.  The defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the bulge in the mat did not exist for sufficient time to put the defendants ...

PERSONAL INJURY: Supreme Court holds town fire department not vicariously liable for accident of on-call volunteer firefighter leaving the fire station

7/11/2019 | Kathryn M. Cunningham
kmcunningham@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff alleged that the operator of the motor vehicle was operating within the scope of his employment as a volunteer firefighter since he was on call; within close proximity to the fire station; and ready, willing, and able to respond immediately to emergency calls.   The accident occurred when the ...

PERSONAL INJURY: Supreme Court overturned a $4.5 million loss of consortium award as a “product of sympathy or partiality”

7/11/2019 | Joseph M. Busher Jr.
JMBusher@jacksonokeefe.com

The Estate of William Ashmore brought action against Hartford Hospital where William Ashmore died when hospital personnel failed to reconnect the wires of his pacemaker before administering a potent narcotic.  The jury awarded $4.5 million in loss of consortium claim to his spouse, $1.2 million in non-economic ...

MUNICIPAL LAW: Connecticut Supreme Court overturns eighty-year-old precedent that municipality could be held liable for negligent maintenance of drains and sewers

7/11/2019 | Peter K. O'Keefe
pkokeefe@jacksonokeefe.com

Plaintiffs brought suit against the Town of Naugatuck for negligent maintenance of storm drains resulting in flooding of their property eight times in three years.  The plaintiffs relied on Supreme Court case Spitzer v. Waterbury , 113 Conn. 84, 88, 154 A. 157 (1931), that held “the work of construc ...

MOTOR VEHICLE TORTS: Hartford Superior Court Jury apportioned 50% liability to drunk driver that died from hitting a tractor trailer pulled off to the side of the road

7/11/2019 | Matthew J. O'Keefe
mjokeefe@jacksonokeefe.com

Hartford Superior Court jury awarded $2.8 million to a drunk driver who died instantly from hitting a tractor trailer pulled over on the side of the road. The jury apportioned 50% liability to the drunk driver, who had a blood alcohol level of .118 and trace amounts of marijuana found in his blood during autopsy, cu ...

MOTOR VEHICLE TORTS: Connecticut General Assembly enacts legislation to allow for double or treble damages in an accident where the owner operates a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile device in violation of § 14-296aa

7/11/2019 | Jessica Pieri

The Connecticut General Assembly enacted legislation amending CGS § 14-295, which allows for an award of double or treble damages for statutory recklessness where the owner of the vehicle drives deliberately or with reckless disregard in violation of one of the enumerated statutes, and such violation was a subs ...

INSURANCE LITIGATION: The Connecticut District Court denies award of fees or costs to insurance companies in interpleader actions where action brought “primarily in its own self-interest”:

7/11/2019 | Elizabeth Donoghue

The District Court denied attorneys’ fees and costs to an insurer in an interpleader action, on the grounds that courts in the Second Circuit typically decline to award attorney fees and costs to insurance companies in interpleader actions.  The court reasoned that conflicting claims to the proceeds of in ...

INSURANCE LITIGATION: Superior Court holds defendant insurer had duty to defend where dispute related to covered premises in relation to fall

7/11/2019 | Philip R. Dunn Jr.
prdunn@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff brought an action against Travelers for a declaratory judgment that Travelers had a duty to defend and indemnify the plaintiff for a claim brought against a tenant of the plaintiff.  Travelers argued the insurance policy covered Willard Donuts for liability arising out of the ownership, maintenanc ...

INSURANCE LITIGATION: Superior Court holds no duty to defend assault and battery exclusion where plaintiff’s claim arises solely from an assault

7/11/2019 | Kathryn M. Cunningham
kmcunningham@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff was injured when she was assaulted when multiple altercations broke out at Zen Bar.  Plaintiff obtained a $131,500 judgment against Zen Bar and brought the current action against Zen Bar’s insurance carrier Starr Indemnity to collect her judgment.  The Superior Court held there was no d ...

INSURANCE COVERAGE: Connecticut District Court finds assault exclusion does not preclude coverage for negligent supervision

7/11/2019 | Joseph M. Busher Jr.
JMBusher@jacksonokeefe.com

In an action brought by the Hartford Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation (Archdiocese) against Interstate Fire and Casualty (Interstate) for indemnification of claims paid by the Archdiocese to four victims of sexual misconduct by three priests, both parties filed motions for summary judgment as to Interstate’ ...

PREMISES LIABILITY: Superior Court holds premises operator may not apportion liability for negligence where third party accused of committing sexual assault

2/14/2019 | Matthew J. O'Keefe
mjokeefe@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant condominium management company, her assailant and others after she was sexually assaulted in her apartment.  The claims directed to the corporate defendants sounded in negligence and the claim against her assailant alleged intentional sexual assault and wanton/re ...

PREMISES LIABILITY: Superior Court holds City liable to plaintiff who suffered knee injury after fall on sidewalk

2/14/2019 | Joseph M. Busher Jr.
JMBusher@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff brought suit against the Hartford Commissioner of Transportion after she tripped and fell on a city sidewalk that she claimed was negliglently maintained by the city.  A pizza business in Hartford had removed a sign that arose from the sidewalk, but left the base of the sign without any barrier or ...

PERSONAL INJURY: Superior Court holds sovereign immunity does not apply where owners of pub located at casino are not tribal entity:

2/14/2019 | Kathryn M. Cunningham
kmcunningham@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant pub, which is located at Mohegan Sun Casino, after he was hit as a pedestrian by an intoxicated driver who the plaintiff claimed was overserved at the defendant pub prior to the accident.  The defendant moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, al ...

PERSONAL INJURY: Superior Court holds defendant entitled only to limited discovery of plaintiff’s social media postings:

2/14/2019 | Philip R. Dunn Jr.
prdunn@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff alleged that she was sexually abused by a faculty member while she was a student at the defendant school from 1987 to 1988 and brought action against the school for failing to prevent the teacher’s conduct, failing to ensure a safe environment and fostering a culture in which others blamed the pl ...

PERSONAL INJURY: Superior Court holds City of New Haven may not bring suit against drug manufacturers for social costs of drug addiction:

2/14/2019 | Peter K. O'Keefe
pkokeefe@jacksonokeefe.com

The City of New Haven brought action against the defendant pharmaceutical companies to recoup money for the social costs of paying for addicts’ social and medical needs and indirect expenses caused by drug addicts, including extra emergency-responder expenses and other consequences from drug-related crimes.&nb ...

MOTOR VEHICLE TORTS: Superior Court holds defendant insurer may not apportion third party in UIM claim where that party was not originally named as a tortfeasor:

2/14/2019 | Matthew J. O'Keefe
mjokeefe@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiffs brought an underinsured motorist claim against the plaintiff’s insurer after they were injured in an accident allegedly caused by the tortfeasor Harris.  The defendant insurer filed apportionment claims against a third party and his employer, alleging that the third party’s negligence ...

MOTOR VEHICLE TORTS: Superior Court grants summary judgment to defendant where evidence was overwhelming that plaintiff was driving while intoxicated and fell asleep at wheel:

2/14/2019 | Joseph M. Busher Jr.
JMBusher@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff brought suit against defendant for injuries he sustained when he was driving late at night, hit a patch of black ice, lost control of his vehicle and collided with a truck owned by the defendant that was parked on the shoulder of a highway.  The evidence showed that the plaintiff admitted to the r ...

INSURANCE LITIGATION: Superior Court holds that insured stated sufficient allegations of bad faith, CUIPA and CUTPA violations against her insurer:

2/14/2019 | Kathryn M. Cunningham
kmcunningham@jacksonokeefe.com

The plaintiff filed a claim with her homeowner’s insurer after she sustained property damage from a furnace leak.  She was dissatisfied with the insurer’s resolution of her claim and filed suit for, among other claims, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, CUIPA violation an ...


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