fbpx Skip to content

Insurance Coverage: Court grants UIM insurer’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction

The plaintiff and the defendant were motorists operating in their respective vehicles when they collided. The plaintiff’s complaint alleges that the defendant’s negligence was responsible for the collision which caused the plaintiff’s vehicle to collide with a third vehicle. Plaintiff sought and obtained permission to cite in Infinity Indemnity Insurance Company as an additional defendant. In the second count of the complaint, the plaintiff asserts a claim against defendant Infinity for uninsured motorist benefits. Before the court is the defendant Infinity’s motion to dismiss. Infinity argues that the exercise by the court of personal jurisdiction over it would violate its constitutional rights to due process as it lacks sufficient minimum contacts with Connecticut. The plaintiff is a resident of Pennsylvania, the defendant is a resident of Connecticut and Infinity is an Alabama corporation which is authorized to do business in Connecticut.

The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of state courts over nonresident defendants. The test is whether the nonresident defendant has such minimum contacts with the forum state that the exercise of jurisdiction would “not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice…” The first prong of the constitutional analysis, the court explains, that is whether minimum contacts exist, can be satisfied based on foreseeability. In other words, was it foreseeable to defendant Infinity that a policy it issued for one of its insured would or could be subject of a claim arising out of an accident occurring in Connecticut.

The court finds that the policy applies to accidents occurring “within the United States of America” and therefore, based on this language, national travel of the insured was foreseeable and minimum contacts is established. The next part of the analysis involves whether the assertion of personal jurisdiction “comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice” which depends on the particular facts of the case. The court finds convincing the facts that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Infinity is not reasonable, and would not comport with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

In sum, the court explains and concludes, that based on the facts, the exercise of jurisdiction over an Alabama corporation that issued a policy under Pennsylvania law to a Pennsylvania resident who then rejected uninsured motorist coverage under Pennsylvania law would not comport with “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” For these reasons, the court grants defendant Infinity’s motion to dismiss. Franklin v. Gambino, No. DBD-CV-21-6043407-S, 2023 WL 3992939 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 5, 2023).