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Koscinski v. Farm Family Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 28, 2018



          Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.

         Peter Koscinski brings this action as administrator of his daughter Megan Koscinski's Estate against Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company (“Farm Family”). His claims relate to an underlying lawsuit he brought against Harold G. Skinner in Connecticut Superior Court. Koscinski alleged that Skinner negligently caused Megan's death at a party in a home that Skinner owned. Skinner sought defense and indemnification from Farm Family under a homeowner's insurance policy it had issued him. Farm Family denied Skinner's claim, concluding that the events in Koscinski's complaint fell within an exclusion in the policy for bodily injury arising out of the use of a controlled substance. Koscinski and Skinner settled the underlying lawsuit. The settlement stipulated that judgment would be entered for Koscinski in the amount of $345, 000. Skinner agreed to pay $45, 000 and assigned his rights under the Farm Family policy to Koscinski.

         Koscinski then brought this suit against Farm Family arguing that Farm Family must pay the balance of his settlement with Skinner. Farm Family moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had no duty to defend or indemnify Skinner because Koscinski's claims against Skinner fell within the controlled substances exclusion in the policy. I find that there is no genuine dispute of material fact about the applicability of the controlled substances exclusion and that the claims in Koscinski's case against Skinner fell entirely within that exclusion. I therefore GRANT Farm Family's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Factual Background and Procedural History

         Peter Koscinski sued Harold Skinner in Connecticut Superior Court on December 3, 2015. His original complaint alleged that Skinner “was the owner of, and controlled, maintained, and/or possessed, a single family home located at 34 Skinner Road . . . also known as 65 Highland Avenue . . . .” (Skinner Complaint, ECF No. 15-1 at 22 ¶ 2) (“Skinner I”). Megan Koscinski, then fourteen, allegedly attended a party at the home on February 15, 2014, where “heroin and other narcotics were available and were used and/or consumed by plaintiff's decedent, among others.” (Skinner I ¶ 3.) The Skinner I complaint alleged that, at the party, “[a]s a result of using heroin and other narcotics at the premises . . . Megan Koscinski became ill and unconscious, ultimately resulting in her death on February 16, 2014.” (Skinner I ¶ 4.) The complaint alleged that Skinner negligently and carelessly caused Megan's death in one of the following ways:

a. in that he failed to adequately supervise the plaintiff's decedent and other minors at the premises;
b. in that he permitted parties at the premises when he knew or should have known that minors using alcohol and/or narcotic drugs were in attendance;
c. in that he failed to control the conduct of those at the premises;
d. in that he did not identify or stop the narcotics and/or alcohol consumption by minors at the premises, when, in the exercise of reasonable care, he could and should have done so.

(Skinner I ¶ 5.)

         Skinner held a homeowner's insurance policy from Farm Family Insurance Company- Policy No. 0602G1294 (“the Policy”), which was in effect on the dates in Koscinski's complaint. (Defendant's Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement, ECF No. 15-2 at 2 ¶ 3) (“56(a)2 Stmt.”). The Policy provided the following coverage:

WE provide coverage under Section A - BODILY INJURY/PROPERTY DAMAGE, if a claim is made or a SUIT is brought against an INSURED for damages because of a BODILY INJURY or PROPERTY DAMAGE caused by an OCCURRENCE that takes place in the COVERAGE TERRITORY and to which this coverage applies. . . .
WE provide coverage under Section B - MEDICAL EXPENSES for the necessary MEDICAL EXPENSES incurred and reported within three (3) years from the date of an OCCURRENCE causing BODILY INURY, provided that the OCCURRENCE takes place in the COVERAGE TERRITORY. . . .

(ECF No. 15-1 at 79-91.) The policy also included the following exclusion:

22. arising out of the use, sale, manufacture, delivery, transfer or possession by any person of a controlled substance. This exclusion does not apply to the legitimate use of prescription drugs by a ...

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