United States District Court, D. Connecticut
NATIONAL LIABILITY & FIRE INS. CO. and BOAT AMERICA CORPORATION, Plaintiffs,
JOHN JABLONOWSKI, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR
W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an action by National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. and
Boat America Corporation for declaratory judgment that there
is no coverage for either of the insurance claims submitted
by defendant John Jablonowski under his Yacht Policy.
have moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons,
plaintiffs' motion will be granted.
National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. and Boat America
Corporation d/b/a Boat Owners Association of the United
States issued Yacht Policy No. 3641097-15 to defendant John
Jablonowski for his 1962 wooden auxiliary sailboat, PAULA
LYNN, with an agreed $90, 000 value covering the boat and
boating equipment during the period September 18, 2015, to
September 18, 2016.
20, 2016, defendant reported Claim No. 1604168 under the
Yacht Policy for an alleged electrical fire at the PAULA LYNN
shore power cord connection, which cut off electricity to an
onboard space heater. This allegedly caused immediate
consequential property damage in the form of mold or mildew
growth in the boat's interior, for which defendant claims
he is due $90, 000, with the boat allegedly a total loss.
September 23, 2016, plaintiffs declined coverage for
defendant's first claim and without waiving any rights
agreed to pay a $3, 000 invoice for cleaning mold and mildew,
as an investigative cost.
days after that declination (and eight days after the Yacht
Policy expired), on September 26, 2016, defendant reported
Claim No. 1607652 for alleged vandalism due to an unknown
person's sanding of PAULA LYNN's cabin top and
V-berth. Defendant claims the vandal's sanding spread
mold throughout the boat. Again defendant claims he is due
$90, 000 because the boat is a constructive total loss.
waiving any rights, plaintiffs agreed to consider the new,
second claim and to reconsider the first claim in light of
defendant's continued allegations.
accordance with the Yacht Policy at its page 2 ¶ 5,
defendant agreed to a pre-litigation examination under oath
taken by counsel on October 21, 2016.
letter dated December 8, 2016, plaintiffs denied
defendant's first and second claims and then filed an
Amended Complaint for declaratory judgment on December 13,
his first claim, for the alleged fire, defendant admits that
he never saw any smoke but contends that the fire at the
electrical cord connection continued and was ongoing all
winter until May 2016.
did not disclose any expert witnesses regarding the existence
of a fire. After looking at the PAULA LYNN shore power cord,
the Watertown Fire Chief and the Mystic Fire Marshal,
according to defendant, both said, “It was an
electrical issue and it caused the burning of the cord,
timely disclosed Michael K. Higgins Sr. as their expert fire
witness in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2). Defendant
did not depose Higgins. In his November 30, 2016, report,
Higgins concluded that there was no fire. The report supports
plaintiffs' December 8, 2016, denial letter:
The boat side connector of the shore power cord has
carbonization and melting of the plastic housing which is a
direct result of a poor contact and arcing with the male hot
lead on the boat connector. No. fire occurred on the
connector or male plug. All damage is a direct result of poor
maintenance on the insured's part.
admitted that he had to repeatedly reconnect the shore power
cord in order to restore power ...