United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jessica Salinas brings claims of breach of contract, breach
of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation
of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act, and
violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
against defendants HDI-Gerling America Insurance Co. and
Energi Insurance Services, Inc. This action stems from an
underlying personal injury suit by plaintiff against
defendants' insured, who allegedly crashed his work truck
into plaintiff's vehicle causing serious injury.
Plaintiff asserts that she is subrogated to all of the
insured's rights against defendants, his insurers, by
virtue of a stipulated judgment that was entered in the
have moved to dismiss for lack of standing and failure to
state a claim. For the following reasons, defendants'
motion will be granted.
suffered serious injury when her vehicle was struck by a
utility truck operated by Alliance Power Group LLC employee
Eric McLeod. Plaintiff commenced suit in the underlying
action, where defendants allegedly refused to provide
insurance coverage, arguing McLeod was not acting within the
scope of his employment at the time of the collision.
Plaintiff asserts that McLeod agreed to assign his interests
to pursue a bad faith claim against the insurance companies
on the basis that the carriers should have agreed to
indemnify McLeod for any damages arising out of the accident.
outset, defendants argue that plaintiff lacks standing to
pursue her derivative claims for failure to establish the
prerequisite underlying final judgment. Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 38a-321 provides in relevant part:
Upon the recovery of a final judgment . . . for loss or
damage on account of bodily injury or death or damage to
property, if the defendant in such action was insured against
such loss or damage at the time when the right of action
arose and if such judgment is not satisfied within thirty
days after the date when it was rendered, such judgment
creditor shall be subrogated to all the rights of the
defendant and shall have a right of action against the
insurer to the same extent that the defendant in such action
could have enforced his claim against such insurer had such
defendant paid such judgment.
contend that the “stipulation of judgment” filed
by McLeod in the underlying action was denied by the Hon.
James Bentivegna on September 18, 2017, [Underlying Action
Docket Entry No. 125.10], so no judgment has entered against
McLeod in favor of plaintiff in the underlying action.
responds, without support, that the stipulated judgment
“is sufficient to amount to standing” despite
that the judgment was not ultimately entered by the Superior
Court. Plaintiff argues that stipulated judgments are
generally conclusive and binding. However, the Court is not
persuaded that a stipulated judgment denied by the
Connecticut Superior Court should have the same effect as a
judgment accepted and entered by a court.
next argues that the stipulated judgment was
“erroneously withdrawn as it was without the consent of
the contracting party, McLeod.” This Court will not
second guess the propriety of the Superior Court's order
denying the judgment or allowing withdrawal of the
plaintiff argues that her claims are not purely derivative
because she also alleges direct injury. Plaintiff's
direct injury is alleged to be that “plaintiff had a
binding contract with [McLeod] in the Underlying Action (in
the form of the stipulated judgment), which the plaintiff
contends was breached without proper consent from
McLeod.” Plaintiff asserts that defendants improperly
interfered with that contractual agreement, which directly
harmed plaintiff. Nevertheless, plaintiff has not alleged a
tort cause of action based on interference with contractual
relations. As discussed above, she cannot circumvent the
Connecticut direct action statute's final judgment
requirement by collaterally attacking the Superior
Court's decision to deny favorable judgment.
Plaintiff's argument that a favorable final judgment
would have issued but for improper interference by defendants
plaintiff argues that she is in privity with defendants based
upon the assignment of rights arising out of the stipulated
judgment. Once again, this Court will not recognize a
stipulation that was withdrawn or a motion for judgment that
was denied by the presiding court. Here, plaintiff filed a
motion for judgment based upon the stipulation that was
subsequently withdrawn. The Superior Court denied that
motion, so there ...