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Allstate Insurance Co. v. Swaminathan

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 27, 2017

ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., Plaintiff,
v.
SUDHA SWAMINATHAN, KANISHKA TANKALA, AND KRISTEN COLE, Defendants.

          RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate” or “Plaintiff”) seeks a declaratory judgment that it has no obligation to defend or indemnify Sudha Swaminathan and Kanishka Tankala in an underlying state court lawsuit. Compl., ECF No. 1. Following the close of discovery, Allstate now moves for summary judgment. Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 24.

         For the reasons discussed below, Allstate has no duty to defend or to indemnify Swaminathan and Tankala in the underlying state court lawsuit based on either the homeowner's insurance policy or the personal umbrella policy, and Allstate's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         From June 27, 2000 until December 16, 2013, Sudha Swaminathan and Kanishka Tankala owned a house at 30 Andreis Trail, South Windsor, Connecticut. Swamanathan Answer ¶ 9, ECF No. 21. During that same time period, they maintained a homeowner's insurance policy from Allstate covering the property. Compl. Ex. B, ECF No. 1-2 (“Homeowner's Insurance Policy”); Pl.'s Statement of Material Facts (“SMF”) ¶ 1, ECF No. 25. They also maintained a personal umbrella insurance policy from February 16, 2013 to February 16, 2014. SMF ¶ 6; Compl. Ex. C, ECF No. 1-3 (“Personal Umbrella Policy”).

         Their homeowner's policy provided:

Allstate will pay damages which an insured person becomes legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage arising from an occurrence to which this policy applies, and is covered by this part of the policy.
We may investigate or settle any claim or suit for covered damages against an insured person. If an insured person is sued for these damages, we will provide a defense with counsel of our choice, even if the allegations are groundless, false or fraudulent. We are not obligated to pay any claim or judgment after we have exhausted our limit of liability.

         Homeowner's Insurance Policy at 42. The policy did not cover:

[B]odily injury or property damage intended by, or which may reasonably be expected to result from the intentional or criminal acts or omissions of, an insured person. This exclusion applies even if:
a) such bodily injury or property damage is of a different kind or degree than that intended or reasonably expected; or
b) such bodily injury or property damage is sustained by a different person than intended or reasonably expected.
This exclusion applies regardless of whether or not the insured person is actually charged with, or convicted of, a crime.

Id. Also, the policy did not “cover property damage to property rented to, occupied or used by, or in the care of, an insured person” or “any liability an insured person assumes arising out of any contract or agreement.” Id. at 43-44.

         The personal umbrella policy stated that “Allstate will pay when an insured becomes legally obligated to pay for personal injury or property damage caused by an occurrence.” Personal Umbrella Policy at 20. The policy defines the following terms:

7. “Occurrence” means an accident or a continuous exposure to conditions. An occurrence includes personal injury and property damage caused by an insured while trying to protect persons or property from personal injury or property damage.
8. “Personal ...

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