The Connecticut Supreme Court Expands Test For Insurer’s Duty To Defend An Insured Contractor (JD Supra)

The Connecticut Supreme Court Expands Test For Insurer’s Duty To Defend An Insured Contractor

  Friday, December 11th, 2020 Source: JD Supra

Connecticut’s trend of liberal, policyholder-oriented insurance coverage decisions continued apace with the recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision, Nash Street, LLC v. Main Street America Assurance Company et al.

Confronting an issue of first impression, the Court held that, when there is no Connecticut appellate authority interpreting a particular policy provision, but when courts in other jurisdictions have interpreted the same provision to create a possibility of coverage, or even when they have interpreted the provision differently, an insurer may nonetheless have a duty to defend an insured in Connecticut based simply on the legal uncertainty that existed at the time the defense was tendered.

In Nash Street, the plaintiff property owner retained a contractor to repair a Milford home that was damaged following Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. The work required the house to be lifted and temporarily placed onto cribbing.

The contractor retained a subcontractor to lift the house and perform concrete work on the foundation. As the subcontractor was lifting the house in preparation for the foundation work, the house ‘‘shifted off the supporting cribbing and collapsed.’’

The only work being performed on the house at the time was related to the lifting. The plaintiff sued the contractor for the work of its subcontractor.

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