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Connecticut Partner Obtains Summary Judgment for Insurer in Matter of Assault and Battery Exclusion

Litchfield Cavo LLP Connecticut office Partner Kathleen F. Adams recently obtained summary judgment for an insurer in a declaratory judgment action before the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. The Court agreed that the carrier had no duty, as a matter of law, to satisfy a $5 million stipulated judgment that its insured entered into with an underlying plaintiff in resolution of the plaintiff’s claims against the insured for significant injuries the plaintiff sustained when he was assaulted and set on fire. Though the plaintiff’s claims against the insured were for negligent supervision and conspiracy, the Court held that the policy’s assault and battery exclusion barred coverage as a matter of law, even though the insured was not the active tortfeasor and did not directly assault the plaintiff.

The Court’s ruling is significant both because there previously was no Connecticut decisional law construing the precise policy language at issue and because the Court held that the assault and battery exclusion at issue is not limited in its application to active tortfeasors.