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Attorneys Melicent Thompson and Elizabeth Hoff Prevail Before The Connecticut Appellate Court Regarding Coverage For Bodily Injuries Arising From Physical and Verbal Altercation


Partner Melicent Thompson and Senior Associate Elizabeth Hoff prevailed on behalf of an insurer in an appeal challenging entry of summary judgment for the insurer as to coverage for bodily injury claims that an insured garage’s customers asserted against the garage and its principal, arising out of a physical and verbal altercation between the principal and the customers.  In the underlying action, customers entered into a stipulated judgment against the principal and the garage and then, pursuant to Connecticut’s Direct Action statute, pursued the insurer for payment on the $850,000 stipulated judgment against the garage.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the insurer on its coverage defenses, agreeing with the insurer that the subject incident was not an ‘occurrence’, did not result from ‘garage operations’ and that the customers’ bodily injury claims arising from the incident otherwise were barred from coverage under the policy’s assault and battery exclusion, which exclusion encompassed both negligent and intentional assault and/or battery. 

The Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed, concluding that the undisputed facts were that the garage’s principal intentionally assaulted and/or battered the customers and that, therefore, the assault and battery exclusion barred coverage in full for the customers’ bodily injury claims arising from that incident.