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Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. v. Samson

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 20, 2017

VERMONT MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
DEBRA SAMSON and MATTHEW HEBERT, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING PLAINTIFF VERMONT MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT. NO. 16]

          Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Vermont Mutual Insurance Company (“Vermont Mutual”) brings this action for declaratory relief pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 52-29. Vermont Mutual has now moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, asking the Court to hold as a matter of law that Defendant Debra Samson's homeowner's insurance policy created no duty to defend Ms. Samson in a lawsuit filed against her by Defendant Matthew Hebert, and no duty to indemnify her for a $125, 000 judgment entered in that case. [Dkt. No. 16 at 2]. Vermont Mutual also seeks dismissal of Defendants' counterclaims for declaratory relief, breach of contract, the violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a, et seq., the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (“CUIPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 38a-315, et seq., bad faith, and unjust enrichment. [Dkt. No. 16 at 15-20].

         For the reasons that follow, Vermont Mutual's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED in all respects.

         II. Background

         Vermont Mutual issued Policy No. HO170824444, Form HO 00 03 04 91 (the “Policy”), to Paul and Debra Samson, which covered the period from October 6, 2013 to October 6, 2014. [Dkt. No. 17-4, Declarations]. This policy covered the residence located at 604 Stone Road, Windsor, CT 06095. Id. The Policy provided the following liability coverage:

         If a claim is made or a suit is brought against an “insured” for damages because of “bodily injury”[1] . . . caused by an “occurrence”[2] to which this coverage applies, we will:

1. Pay up to our limit of liability for the damages for which the “insured” is legally liable. Damages include pre-judgment interest awarded against the “insured”; and
2. Provide a defense at our expense by counsel of our choice, even if the suit is groundless, false or fraudulent. We may investigate and settle any claim or suit that we decide is appropriate. Our duty to settle or defend ends when the amount we pay for damages resulting from the “occurrence” equals our limit of liability.

[Dkt. 17-8, Homeowners 3 - Special Form, at 10].

         The Policy contains an exclusion for bodily injury that arises out of or in connection with a business. [Dkt. No. 17-4, Homeowners 3 - Special Form, at 11].

         The relevant section (“Section II - Exclusions”) reads as follows:

Coverage E - Personal Liability . . . [does] not apply to “bodily injury” . . . arising out of or in connection with a “business”[3] engaged by an “insured.” This exclusion applies but is not limited to an act or omission, a service or duty rendered, promised, owed or implied to be provided because of the nature of the “business.”

Id. The Policy is additionally subject to Endorsement HO 04 96 04 91, which specifically addresses coverage for a home day care business. It ...


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