Nationwide Mut Ins. Co. v. Pasiak, 173 A.3d 888, 327 Conn. 225 2017 Caselaw Access Project

Accordingly, it granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. Specifically, the court pointed to the homeowners policy coverage limited to “bodily injury,” which was defined to exclude emotional distress unless caused by a physical injury, and the lack of evidence in the Socci action establishing such physical injury. Although the umbrella policy contained a similar definition for bodily injury, that policy also covered “personal injury,” a term defined by reference to specified injuries/acts, including “false imprisonment.” In light of that express coverage, the trial court concluded that many of the policy exclusions on which the plaintiffs relied were inapplicable.

The Appellate Court concluded that the defendant’s operation of his construction company, and his employment of Socci in support thereof, constituted the requisite “business pursuits,” and that Socci’s injuries arose out of that business pursuit. As to the latter conclusion, the court reasoned that “the sine qua non of the defendant’s tortious conduct was ․ Socci’s presence at his business office fulfilling her responsibilities as his employee. ․ Stated alternatively, had ․ Socci not been at the office performing her duties as an employee of the defendant’s business, there is no reason to believe that she would have been assaulted by Kotulsky and, consequently, detained by the defendant.

The defendant returned home during the incident and was attacked by the intruder. During an ensuing struggle, the defendant pulled off the intruder’s mask, revealing him to be Richard Kotulsky, a lifelong friend of the defendant. The defendant began talking to Kotulsky and inquired about Socci. Kotulsky led the defendant to Socci, who was crying and hysterical.

Therefore, although they contend that the trial court’s ruling improperly prohibited them from litigating the issue of whether the defendant’s conduct was intentional, they would not be entitled to relief even if they were allowed to do so. Indeed, as we previously have indicated, the parties are in agreement that the defendant committed an intentional act. Co. v. Nantes, supra, 303 Conn. at , 36 A.3d 224.

To summarize, I would conclude that the trial court correctly determined that the business pursuits, abuse, and workers’ compensation exclusions did not apply in the present case. Additionally, I believe that the trial court correctly determined that the plaintiffs were not entitled to a de novo fact finding hearing on all issues in the present declaratory judgment action. Finally, I would conclude that the trial court did shlomo werdiger not abuse its discretion in denying certain discovery requests. Indeed, we cannot say on the basis of the limited facts found by the trial court or the evidentiary record whether the business pursuits exclusion applies as a matter of law. There was additional evidence in the Socci action relating to the matter raised by the Appellate Court on which the trial court made no findings, which that court may consider on remand.

According to the umbrella policy, the plaintiffs agreed to “pay for damages an insured is legally obligated to pay due to an occurrence” subject to certain exclusions. In Imperial Casualty & Indemnity Co. v. State, 246 Conn. 313, , 714 A.2d 1230 , this court confronted the internal inconsistency between a policy limiting coverage to accidents (i.e., unintentional conduct) while also providing coverage for certain injuries that could result only from intentional conduct, such as false imprisonment. Consistent with our rules of construction, we construed this ambiguity in favor of the insured to provide coverage for the intentional acts specified.8 See id., at , 714 A.2d 1230. The plaintiffs claim, as an additional ground for affirming the judgment of the Appellate Court, that they were denied the opportunity to develop their case, in particular their coverage defenses, through both discovery and trial evidence. Because this ground appears to be very similar to the previous issue, although it may encompass rulings on discovery, I again review it under an abuse of discretion standard.

He contends that, because this exclusion refers to “a variety of sexually based behaviors” (i.e., sexual molestation), the entire exclusion should be read to refer only to such behaviors. The clearest evidence is the inclusion of both “harassment” and “sexual harassment” in the exclusion, the former being rendered superfluous under the defendant’s construction. The trial court made no separate factual findings with regard to this exclusion.