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Discuillo v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 8, 2019

ELAINE DISCUILLO, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 40)

          KARI A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Preliminary Statement of the Case

         This insurance coverage dispute was brought by the Plaintiff, Elaine Discuillo, against her homeowner's property insurance provider, Defendant Allstate Insurance Company. The Plaintiff claims that the Defendant breached its contract of insurance when it failed to pay for damage to her home allegedly caused by a snow and/or ice storm. Originally filed in state court, the matter was removed by the Defendant to this Court on February 14, 2017. In her revised complaint, the Plaintiff seeks specific performance of the appraisal provision of her insurance contract in Count One and damages for breach of contract in Count Two. The Defendant moved for summary judgment on both counts, arguing that the Plaintiff's suit is barred by the insurance policy's eighteen-month suit limitations provision and because the Plaintiff failed to timely notify the Defendant of her claim. In response, the Plaintiff does not substantively challenge the enforceability of the suit limitations provision or address the timeliness of her notice of claim. Instead, she argues that the Court should grant her then-pending motion to compel and stay litigation. Following the parties' briefing on this matter, Judge Shea denied the Plaintiff's motion to compel and stay litigation on August 3, 2018. For the reasons set forth below, the Defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         Standard of Review

         The standard under which the Court reviews motions for summary judgment is well-established. “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court's inquiry focuses on “whether there is the need for a trial-whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). Once the movant meets his burden, the nonmoving party must set forth “‘specific facts' demonstrating that there is ‘a genuine issue for trial.'” Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). “[T]he party opposing summary judgment may not merely rest on the allegations or denials of his pleading” to establish the existence of a disputed fact. Wright, 554 F.3d at 266; accord Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). However, until the moving party comes forward with evidence that would establish his entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, the non-moving party is under no obligation to produce any evidence. Amaker v. Foley, 274 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001).

         Facts

         The following material facts are either undisputed, admitted, or construed favorably to the Plaintiff. The Defendant provided homeowners insurance to the Plaintiff covering the Plaintiff's home at 375 Norwich Salem Turnpike in Oakdale, Connecticut. The policy at issue here covered the property from September 28, 2014 to September 28, 2015. On or about February 10, 2015, a winter storm damaged the Plaintiff's home. In the spring of 2015, a friend of the Plaintiff's applied sealant to the roof around a bathroom skylight, in an unsuccessful attempt to fix a leak purportedly caused by the storm damage. The Plaintiff also tried to spackle or putty certain spots in that bathroom but did not immediately do anything to repair the damage to two upstairs bedrooms.Later, in the summer of 2015, the Plaintiff contacted a contractor, Michael Hancin (“Hancin”), but he did not visit the Plaintiff's property until April 2016. The Plaintiff “waited” on calling him out to the property because she “thought [she] had to have the deductible for [her] insurance policy and money for [the contractor]” and “had to save up.”

         The Plaintiff first filed an insurance claim with the Defendant on April 26, 2016. An adjuster for the Defendant, Dale Laprise (“Laprise”), inspected the property on May 13, 2016 and June 2, 2016. Noting some limited staining consistent with prior ice damming along the exterior walls of some of the rooms, Laprise estimated a $9, 077.36 repair cost. After applying the recoverable depreciation and the policy's deductible, the Laprise issued the Plaintiff a check for $4, 591.64. The Plaintiff later commenced suit against the Defendant in January 2017, serving the Defendant on January 23, 2017.

         The policy at issue contains a suit limitations provision, expressly limiting the time for filing an action against the Defendant. That provision provides in relevant part:

         Section I - Conditions

         Suit Against Us

         No suit or action may be brought against us unless there has been full compliance with all policy terms. Any suit or action must be brought within eighteen months after the inception of loss or damage.

         The policy also contains a provision detailing what steps an insured must take following a loss. That provision provides in relevant part:

         Section ...


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