February 1, 2018
to recover damages for underinsured motorist benefits
allegedly due under a policy of automobile insurance issued
by the defendant, and for other relief, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford, where
the court, Povodator, J., granted the
defendant's motion for summary judgment and rendered
judgment thereon, from which the plaintiff appealed to this
C. Turner, Jr., for the appellant (plaintiff).
W. Cannavino, Jr., with whom, on the brief, was Alexandra J.
Zeman, for the appellee (defendant).
Lavine, Prescott and Elgo, Js.
action to recover underinsured motorist benefits pursuant to
an insurance policy issued by the defendant, Progressive
Northwestern Insurance Company, to Wilson Roofing, LLC
(Wilson Roofing), the plaintiff, Wilson Puente, appeals from
the judgment of the trial court granting the defendant's
motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff claims that the
trial court improperly granted the motion because a genuine
issue of material fact existed regarding whether (1) he was a
named ‘‘insured'' within the meaning of
the policy issued to Wilson Roofing or (2) even if he was not
the named insured, he is still entitled to recover pursuant
to the policy because he was
‘‘occupying'' a vehicle covered by the
policy when he sustained his injuries. We affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
record reveals the following facts and procedural history.
The plaintiff alleged in his complaint that he was occupying
or in the process of exiting a 2001 GMC Savana G3500 in a
parking lot in Norwalk when Cristian Zuna, a nonparty, struck
him with her 2008 Honda Accord, causing him to suffer
injuries. The plaintiff further alleged that any damages he
suffered as a result of the accident were covered under a
commercial auto policy through which the defendant provided
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to the
plaintiff's business, Wilson Roofing.
6, 2016, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment in
which it argued that there is no genuine issue of material
fact regarding whether (1) the plaintiff was insured under
the policy because he was not
‘‘occupying'' the vehicle at the time of
the accident, and (2) the vehicle was not an
‘‘insured auto'' under the policy. The
plaintiff filed a motion in opposition to the motion for
summary judgment arguing that there was a genuine issue of
material fact as to whether he was the named insured within
the meaning of the policy or that he was
‘‘occupying'' an insured vehicle at the
time he sustained his injuries.
deposition, a transcript of which the defendant attached as
an exhibit to its motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff
testified that he operates a home improvement company known
as Wilson Roofing and Siding, LLC, which has four or five
employees. On the morning of May 15, 2014, the
plaintiff drove to a parking lot at Rick's Main Roofing
at 26 Fitch Street in Norwalk. The plaintiff worked for
Rick's Main Roofing as a subcontractor and had two
assigned parking spaces in that lot. The plaintiff left for a
job assignment and returned to the parking lot at Rick's
Main Roofing sometime between 3 and 3:30 p.m. The plaintiff
parked his vehicle with the front end of his vehicle facing
into the parking space. He gathered the papers he needed to
take into Rick's Main Roofing, stepped out of the
vehicle, and walked toward the rear of the vehicle. After he
walked past the rear of his vehicle, he noticed a Honda Civic
traveling toward him and was forced to jump onto the front
end of the Honda to avoid being hit. He suffered injuries to
his left foot after it was caught under the front end of the
undisputed that the commercial auto insurance policy issued
by the defendant to the plaintiff, which was in effect at the
time of the accident, provided coverage for some of Wilson
Roofing's vehicles. The declarations page of that policy
states that the defendant provided commercial auto insurance
coverage and that the ‘‘named insured''
was ‘‘Wilson Roofing, LLC.''
a hearing, the court granted the defendant's motion for
summary judgment. The court concluded that the language of
the policy was unambiguous and that there was no genuine
issue of material fact regarding whether the plaintiff was a
named insured within the meaning of the policy. Specifically,
the court concluded as a matter of law that Wilson Roofing,
and not the plaintiff, was the named insured under the
policy. The court also concluded that, even if he was not the
named insured, the plaintiff had failed to raise a genuine
issue of material fact that he was still entitled to recover
pursuant to the policy language that extends coverage to
persons ‘‘occupying'' a vehicle insured
under the policy because he failed to raise a genuine issue
of material fact that he was
‘‘occupying'' such a vehicle when he
sustained his injuries. This appeal followed.
plaintiff claims on appeal that the court improperly
concluded that there was no genuine issue of material fact as
to whether (1) the policy provided underinsured coverage to
him personally regardless of whether he was occupying the
vehicle and (2) he was ‘‘occupying, ''
within the meaning of the policy, an insured vehicle at the
time he sustained his injuries. We are not persuaded.
first set forth the applicable standard of review.
‘‘In seeking summary judgment, it is the movant
who has the burden of showing the nonexistence of any issue
of fact. . . . Although the party seeking summary judgment
has the burden of showing the nonexistence of any material
fact . . . a party opposing summary judgment must
substantiate its adverse claim by showing that there is a
genuine issue of material fact together with the evidence
disclosing the existence of such an issue.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) Rosenfield v. I.
David Marder & Associates, LLC, 110 Conn.App. 679,
684, 956 A.2d 581 (2008).
judgment shall be granted if the pleadings, affidavits and
any other proof submitted show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. . . . A fact is material when
it will make a difference in the outcome of a case. . . . The
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of
demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of ...