United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge
insurance coverage dispute arises out of a personal injury
action filed by James M. Dimon against Louis Tarantino III in
Milford Superior Court, Docket No. AAN-cv-14-6016923-S.
Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") seeks a
declaratory judgment that it does not owe a duty to defend or
indemnify Tarantino under a homeowners‘ insurance
policy issued to his parents. (doc. 1) On October 15, 2015,
Allstate filed a motion for summary judgment. (doc. 20)
Because Tarantino has failed to defend himself in this suit
in any meaningful way, Dimon was granted permission to
intervene, (doc. 27), and filed a cross-motion for summary
judgment on February 29, 2016, (doc. 28). I held a hearing on
the motions for summary judgment on May 16, 2016. (doc. 34)
following reasons, I deny in part Allstate‘s motion for
summary judgment with respect to the duty to defend
Tarantino, and grant in part Dimon‘s motion for summary
judgment on that issue. I have determined that it is
premature to rule on whether Allstate has a duty to indemnify
Tarantino, and accordingly, both motions are denied without
prejudice with respect to whether Allstate has a duty to
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when the record demonstrates that
"there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986) (plaintiff must present
affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported
motion for summary judgment).
ruling on a summary judgment motion, the court must construe
the facts of record in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all
reasonable inferences against the moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
158-59 (1970); see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch.
Dist., 963 F.2d. 520, 523 (2d Cir. 1992) (court is
required to "resolve all ambiguities and draw all
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party"). When a
motion for summary judgment is properly supported by
documentary and testimonial evidence, however, the nonmoving
party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of
the pleadings, but must present sufficient probative evidence
to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); Colon v.
Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 872 (2d Cir. 1995).
when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of
the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v.
Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir. 1991); see also
Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780, 788
(2d Cir. 1992). If the nonmoving party submits evidence that
is "merely colorable, " or is not
"significantly probative, " summary judgment may be
granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50.
The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between
the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be
no genuine issue of material fact. As to materiality, the
substantive law will identify which facts are material. Only
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or
unnecessary will not be counted.
Id. at 247-48. To present a "genuine"
issue of material fact, there must be contradictory evidence
"such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for
the non-moving party." Id. at 248.
nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an
essential element of his case with respect to which he has
the burden of proof at trial, then summary judgment is
appropriate. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. In such a
situation, "there can be 'no genuine issue as to any
material fact, ‘ since a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving
party‘s case necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial." Id. at 322-23; accord Goenaga
v. March of Dimes Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18
(2d Cir. 1995) (movant‘s burden satisfied if he can
point to an absence of evidence to support an essential
element of nonmoving party‘s claim). In short, if there
is no genuine issue of material fact, summary judgment may
enter. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
Relevant Insurance Policy Provisions
Tarantino, Jr. and Marylynne Tarantino carry a
homeowners‘ insurance policy through Allstate in the
amount of $500, 000 (the "Policy"), which was in
effect during all relevant periods. Pl.‘s Br., Ex. A.
Policy includes the following relevant definitions:
"Insured person(s)" - means you and, if a resident
of your household:
(a) any relative; and
(b) any dependent person in your care.
Id. at 19. The parties apparently agree that Louis
Tarantino III ("Tarantino"), the adult son of Louis
and Maylynne Tarantino, falls under the definition of an
"Occurrence" - means an accident including
continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same
general harmful conditions during the policy period,
resulting in bodily injury or property damage.
Id. at 20. The word "accident" is not
Section II of the Policy, entitled "Family Liability and
Guest Medical Protection, " the Policy includes
"Family Liability Protection" under Coverage X and
"Guest Medical Protection" under Coverage Y.
Id. at 38, 40. Both provisions appear to cover a
claim for a suit for damages against an insured person caused
by the activities of the insured person and both include
substantially similar relevant language as follows (from
Subject to the terms, conditions and limitations of this
policy, Allstate will pay damages which an insured person
becomes legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury . .
. arising from an occurrence to which this policy applies,
and is covered by this part of the policy.
. . . .
Losses We Do Not Cover Under Coverage X