MISITI, LLC, et al. v. TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA et al., SC 18915

Judicial District of Danbury

 

      Insurance; Duty to Defend; Whether Insurance Company had a Duty to Defend a Commercial Property Owner Pursuant to an Additional Insured Endorsement that was Included in an Insurance Policy that was Issued to the Property Owner's Commercial Tenant.  In 2008, Sarah Middeleer allegedly sustained injuries when she fell while on certain commercial property that was owned by Misiti, LLC (Misiti).  Thereafter, Middeleer brought an action against Misiti, alleging that her injuries resulted from Misiti's negligence.  After a settlement was reached in that action, Misiti initiated the present declaratory judgment action, claiming that Travelers Property Casualty Company of America (Travelers) improperly refused to defend it in Middeleer's action.  Misiti maintained that Travelers had issued an insurance policy to one of Misiti's commercial tenants, Church Hill Tavern, LLC (the tavern), and that under the tavern's policy, Travelers had a duty to defend Misiti because it was named as an additional insured in the policy.  Travelers filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that although Middeleer had eaten dinner at the tavern prior to the accident, her injuries were not related to her use of the tavern because the fall occurred on a separate part of Misiti's property, and, therefore, Travelers did not have a duty to defend Misiti.  Misiti filed a cross motion for summary judgment, claiming that Travelers had a duty to defend it because the incident arose out of the tavern's use of Misiti's property.  The trial court granted Misiti's motion and denied Travelers' motion.  On appeal, the Appellate Court (132 Conn. App. 629) reversed the trial court's judgment, emphasizing that the additional insured endorsement in the tavern's policy provided coverage only with respect to liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the part of Misiti's property that was leased to the tavern.  It determined that Middeleer did not allege that her injuries were causally related to the use of the tavern and that, instead, the facts merely established that, after she had dinner at the tavern, she decided to walk along a river on a separate part of Misiti's property, where she eventually fell through a fence.  Accordingly, the court concluded that Middeleer's fall did not arise out of her use of the tavern and that, therefore, Travelers did not have a duty to defend Misiti in Middeleer's action.  In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court's decision was correct.