Summary Judgment Granted for Property Damage Caused by the Leakage of Water

Attorneys Jon Biller and Michael LeMoult successfully argued for another Connecticut policyholder, who suffered property damage, which had been denied by his insurer. A transcript of Hon. Jeffrey A. Meyer’s decision to grant partial summary judgement in favor of the Connecticut policyholder can be read here.

Recently, Attorneys Biller and LeMoult secured partial summary judgment in favor of a Connecticut policyholder, regarding coverage for property damage that occurred in as a result of a leakage of water. In Camillo v. Merrimack Mutual Fire Insurance Co., the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment regarding the meaning of policy language which excluded coverage for loss “caused by…constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or steam over a period of weeks, months or years …” In Camillo, the insurer denied the policyholder’s claim, arguing that the policyholder did not discover the water damage for at least three weeks.

While counsel for the insurance carrier argued that the exclusion barred coverage for the loss, Attorney LeMoult argued that, at minimum, the insurer must afford coverage for damage which would have occurred to the property within the first thirteen days of the loss. This argument was premised on the policy language itself, which only addressed damage that occurred over the course of “weeks” but did not unambiguously exclude coverage for damage occurring within the first thirteen days of the leak. While this was an issue of first impression in Connecticut, Attorney LeMoult argued the well-settled law that any ambiguity in an insurance policy must be construed in favor of the policyholder, as well as providing the Court with extra-jurisdictional decisions illustrating that the subject policy language was ambiguous as to damage occurring within the first thirteen days of the loss.

The defendant insurer’s motion for summary judgment addressed plaintiff’s claims of bad faith, and claims that the defendant violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by virtue of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA).

Following argument of the cross motions, District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer ruled from the bench, denying the insurance carrier’s motion for summary judgment and granting the plaintiff’s motion, in part, holding that the plaintiff was entitled to coverage for “any damages that plaintiff can prove was incurred over just the first 13 days of seepage/leakage.”

As noted in the transcript of this hearing, this is an issue of first impression in Connecticut, and the Court’s ruling therefore has a significant impact, in assisting Connecticut policyholder’s to receive compensation for damage to their property as a result of a broken water pipe or leak.

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