Biller, Sachs, Robert & DeLaura Prevails in another Action Claiming Negligent Adjustment of an Insurance Claim

Co-authored by: Luc Shay

In September of 2022, in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Judge Victor A. Bolden allowed an insured, represented by Biller, Sachs, Robert & DeLaura, to sue her insurer for negligence after the insurer denied coverage for a property damage claim. Rose v. United Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., No. 3:21-CV-01217 (VAB), 2022 WL 4115635, at *1 (D. Conn. Sept. 9, 2022). In Rose v. United Property, an electrical fire damaged the insured’s residence. Id. The insured attempted to make an insurance claim pursuant to her homeowner’s policy. Id. After the insurer denied coverage, Attorneys Jon Biller and Brianna Robert asserted, on behalf of the insured, that the insurer acted negligently when denying the claim. Id.

When an insurer breaks its promise to provide coverage to an insured, there are a number of legal theories the insured may be able to assert. At issue in Rose v. United Property, was whether or not Connecticut courts will allow an insured to sue an insurer for negligence in the adjusting and handling of the insured’s claim in addition to a breach of contract claim. In tort law, if a court finds a party negligent, that party may be responsible for paying damages to any other party injured by the negligence.  A party may be found negligent if the party owed a duty to the injured party, breached that duty, and caused injury or damage by breaching the duty. E.g., Ruiz v. Victory Properties, LLC, 315 Conn. 320, 328 (2015).

In Rose v. United Property, the insurer attempted to argue that Connecticut courts do not recognize a legal claim for negligent adjustment and handling of insurance claims. 2022 WL 4115635, at *5. The insurer also argued that bringing a negligence claim was “duplicative” of the breach of contract claim. Id.

The Court in Rose v. United Property adopted the arguments made by Attorneys Biller and Robert and rejected the insurer’s efforts to deprive our clients of the right to pursue a claim for negligent adjustment. Id. at *6. The Court pointed out that “both the District of Connecticut and several Connecticut Superior Courts have recognized negligence claims in cases concerning denial of coverage.” Id. (citing cases). The Court also found “ample support in the Connecticut Superior Court of negligence claims being considered along with other claims” in a plaintiff’s complaint. Id. (citing cases).

The Court denied the insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, allowing the insured to continue to litigate her negligence claim against the insurer. Id. at *9. This case represents another important victory in Federal Court by Biller, Sachs, Robert & DeLaura as negligent adjustment claims provide important remedies to Connecticut consumers who have been damaged because their insurance company adjuster was negligent in the handling and processing of their claim.

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