Date: March 5, 2018
for a declaratory judgment to determine, inter alia, whether
the plaintiff was obligated to defend or indemnify the named
defendant et al. under a certain homeowner's insurance
policy, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court
in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court,
Huddleston, J., granted the plaintiff's motion
for summary judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from
which the named defendant et al. appealed to this court.
J. Cates, with whom were P. Jo Anne Burgh and, on the brief,
Sean Nourie, for the appellants (named defendant et al.).
R. Callahan, with whom was Christopher A. Klepps, for the
Lavine, Elgo and Harper, Js.
this declaratory action, the defendants Agatha Okeke and her
son, Michael Okeke, appeal from the summary judgment rendered
by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, General
Insurance Company of America. The defendants claim that the
court improperly concluded (1) that the plaintiff did not owe
a duty to defend and indemnify them in certain judicial
proceedings, and (2) that the plaintiff's claim against
Michael was not moot. We affirm the judgment of the trial
action concerns a physical altercation that allegedly
occurred on January 11, 2013. As the court noted in its
memorandum of decision, the defendants at all relevant times
lived at 10 Morton Lane in East Hartford. Agatha purchased a
homeowner's insurance policy (policy) with respect to
that property from the plaintiff, which was in effect on
January 11, 2013. On that date, Michael, who was fifteen
years old, allegedly assaulted, stabbed, and beat Teresa
Craft in her residence at 2 Morton Lane in East Hartford.
Michael thereafter was arrested and charged with assault of
an elderly person in the first degree in violation of General
Statutes § 53a-59a and disorderly conduct in violation
of General Statutes § 53a-182.
subsequently commenced separate civil actions against Michael
and Agatha. In the action against Michael, Craft alleged
causes of action for intentional assault, negligent assault,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress. All four counts were
predicated on Michael's conduct in assaulting Craft on
January 11, 2013. In the action against Agatha, Craft alleged
negligent supervision, negligence, and negligent infliction
of emotional distress. As the trial court observed,
‘‘[t]he essential allegations of liability in
each of the counts are that Agatha knew or should have known
that Michael was a danger to himself and others but
negligently failed to supervise him and to prevent him from
obtaining access to knives.''
response, Agatha contacted the plaintiff, which initially
agreed to defend both actions subject to a full reservation
of rights. With respect to the action against Michael, the
court stated that ‘‘[a]lthough counsel retained
by [the plaintiff] initially appeared . . . counsel
subsequently moved to withdraw, stating that the claims
against Michael were excluded under the policy and that the
appearance had been filed by mistake. Permission to withdraw
was granted, and Michael was subsequently defaulted for
failure to appear. After a hearing in damages, Craft was
awarded $407, 113.03 in economic and noneconomic damages and
costs against Michael. The action against Agatha remains
pending . . . .'' In their respective appellate
briefs, the parties both acknowledge that the plaintiff is
providing Agatha with a defense in that action, subject to a
reservation of rights.
those actions were pending, the plaintiff commenced this
declaratory action, in which it sought a decree that it
‘‘has no duty to defend or indemnify''
the defendants and that the plaintiff ‘‘may
instruct [its] counsel to withdraw from'' the actions
brought by Craft. The defendants subsequently filed an answer
and three special defenses. In their first special defense,
they alleged that ‘‘the declaratory action as to
[Michael] is moot and/or otherwise not justiciable''
because the plaintiff had ‘‘unilaterally
decided'' not to defend him in the underlying action.
Their second special defense alleged that the plaintiff was
equitably estopped from denying coverage to Michael due to
its failure to provide a defense on his behalf. In their
third special defense, the defendants claimed that the
plaintiff had failed to acknowledge an endorsement to the
policy that allegedly amended certain exclusions contained
February 24, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary
judgment. Appended to that motion were: (1) a copy of the
policy; (2) copies of the complaints brought in the Superior
CourtbyCraft against the defendants; and (3) copies of the
police report and the ‘‘Petition/Information/Face
Sheet-Delinquency'' regarding the assault that
allegedly transpired on January 11, 2013. The defendants
filed an objection to that motion, which was not accompanied
by any affidavits or other documentation. The court held a
hearing on the motion on June 14, 2016. In its subsequent
memorandum of decision, the court rejected the
defendants' contention that the issue of the
plaintiff's duty to defend Michael was moot. The court
also determined that the plaintiff had no duty to defend or
indemnify either of the defendants. From that judgment, the
defendants appealed to this court.
examination of the record and briefs and our consideration of
the arguments of the parties persuade us that the judgment
should be affirmed. On the facts of this case, the issues
properly were resolved in the court's well reasoned
memorandum of decision. See General Ins. Co. of America
v. Okeke, Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford,
Docket No. CV-15-6060103-S (October 3, 2016) (reprinted at
182 Conn.App. 88). We therefore adopt it as the proper
statement of the relevant facts, issues, and applicable law,
as it would serve no useful purpose for us to repeat the
discussion contained therein. See Citizens Against
Overhead Power Line Construction v. Connecticut Siting
Council, 311 Conn. 259, 262, 86 A.3d 463 (2014);
Pellecchia v. Killingly, 147 Conn.App. 299,
301-302, 80 A.3d 931 (2013).
judgment is affirmed.
filed Date: October 3, 2016
Court, Judicial District of Hartford File No. CV-15-6060103-S
of decision on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.