United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
State Farm Insurance Company (“State Farm”)
brings this action seeking “[a] declaration that the
claims made in the Complaint in the Underlying Action do not
give rise to a duty on the part of State Farm Insurance
Company to defend or indemnify M&A Pizza Restaurant, LLC,
Jonathan Prue, or Jarrett C. Toth under Section II of the
policy issued by State Farm Insurance Company[.]” Doc.
#35 at 9. Defendants John Organek and Heidi Organek (the
“Organeks”) bring a counterclaim seeking
“[a] declaration that the claims made in the
Counterclaim and the Underlying Complaint give rise to a duty
on the part of State Farm Insurance Company [to] indemnify
the defendants, M&A Pizza Restaurant, LLC, Jonathan Prue,
and/or Jarrett C. Toth, under the applicable provisions of
the policy issued by the plaintiff” and “[a]n
order that the plaintiff pay to the defendants, Heidi Organek
and John Organek, those sums that its insureds have become
legally obligated to pay as a result of the motor vehicle
collision of July 23, 2013.” Doc. #42 at 5.
Farm and the Organeks consented to the jurisdiction of a
Magistrate Judge on September 12, 2017, see Doc. #51, and the
case was reassigned to the undersigned on September 19, 2017,
see Doc. #52. The case was set down for a trial to the
Court on January 10, 2018. In advance of the trial, State
Farm and the Organeks each filed proposed findings of fact
and conclusions of law, see Doc. ##61, 62, written arguments
in support of their respective positions, see Doc. ##60, 63,
and replies to the other party's arguments, see Doc.
##65, 66. State Farm filed objections to the Organeks'
proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. See Doc.
#67. The parties also submitted a joint trial memorandum. See
trial to the Court was held on January 10, 2018. See Doc.
#72. The parties did not call any witnesses, and the
parties' three joint exhibits and nine Stipulations of
Fact were entered into evidence by agreement of the parties.
considered all of the evidence presented at trial, the Court
finds that State Farm has proven by a preponderance of the
evidence that the claims made in the Complaint in the
Superior Court action do not give rise to a duty on the part
of State Farm to defend or indemnify M&A Pizza
Restaurant, LLC (“M&A Pizza”); Jonathan Prue
(“Prue”); and/or Jarrett C. Toth
FINDINGS OF FACT
was employed as a delivery driver at a pizza restaurant
called “DP Dough” prior to his employment with
M&A Pizza. See Exh. 102a at 6-8. DP Dough was located a
few doors down from M&A Pizza in Storrs, Connecticut. See
During the period of his employment with DP Dough, Prue
became familiar with an owner/manager of M&A Pizza, whom
he knew as Nick. See Id. at 7, 12-13.
While working for DP Dough, Prue occasionally made deliveries
for M&A Pizza. See Id. at 8, 13 4. Prue was not
happy with the amount of hours he was working at DP Dough.
See Id. at 7.
approached M&A Pizza about working for them. See
Id. at 9-10, 14; Exh. 102b at 18.
was hired by M&A Pizza as a delivery person. See Exh.
102a at 8-9. Prue's first week of work consisted of three
days of six to eight hour shifts, and his second week was
four days of six to eight hour shifts. See Id. at 8.
stopped working for DP Dough when he was hired by M&A
Pizza. See Id. at 9, 14.
did not work at any other job while he worked for M&A
Pizza. See Id. at 13.
did not make any deliveries on the side while working for
M&A Pizza. See Id. at 13-14.
Prue's relationship with M&A Pizza did not have a
pre-established ending date. See Id. at 11.
M&A Pizza paid Prue $8.00 per hour, plus delivery fees
and tips. See Id. at 14; Exh. 102b at 19.
July 23, 2013, Prue was delivering a pizza for M&A Pizza
when he was involved in an automobile accident with the
Organeks. See Doc. #59 at 2, Stipulations of Fact and
Nos. 3, 4.
the time of the accident, Prue was operating a vehicle owned
by Toth. See Joint Stip. No. 3. Toth was not associated with
M&A Pizza. See Joint Stip. No. 5.
accident occurred about two weeks after Prue stopped working
for DP Dough, and began working exclusively for M&A
Pizza. See Exh. 102a at 8, 13; Exh. 102b at 21.
Organeks obtained a judgment against M&A Pizza in
Connecticut Superior Court for personal injuries the Organeks
sustained in the July 23, 2013, accident. See Joint Stip. No.
Judgment entered in the Superior Court action on the
underlying counts alleging vicarious liability as to M&A
Pizza for the actions of its agent, servant and/or employee,
Prue. See Joint Stip. No. 8.
the time of the accident, M&A Pizza had a general
liability policy (“Food Shop Policy”) issued by
State Farm. See Joint Stip. Nos. 1, 2. The Food Shop Policy
had a policy number of 97-BF-L944-9 and effective dates of
May 1, 2013, through May 1, 2014. See Joint Stip. No. 1.
Food Shop Policy was in full force and effect on July 23,
2013. See Joint Stip. No. 2.
Food Shop Policy includes Form CMP-4000 with endorsements
CMP-4100 (Businessowners Coverage Form), CMP4207.1
(Amendatory Endorsement), CMP 4765 (Exclusion Empl. Non-Owned