Tag Archives: Connecticut


Subrogation Waiver Unconscionable in Residential Fuel Delivery Contract

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In a matter of first impression, the Superior Court of Connecticut (Superior Court), in American Commerce Ins., Co. v. Eastern Fuel Corp., No. CV-206109168-S, 2024 Conn. Super. LEXIS 380, held that a waiver of subrogation provision in a consumer fuel service/delivery contract violated public policy. The Superior Court overruled the motion for summary judgment filed by Eastern Fuel Corporation (Eastern) and determined that the clause was impermissible as the contract was entered into by two parties with unequal bargaining power.

American Commerce Insurance Company (American) provided property insurance to Arlene and James Hillas (the Insureds) for their home in Woodbridge, Connecticut. The Insureds hired Eastern to service their heating system on or around October 25, 2018. The service work at the property included inspecting the oil filters and flushing the fuel lines. On November 1, 2018, when the Insureds turned the heating system on for the first time that season, the two oil tanks on the property were allegedly full. After a series of deliveries, claims that the oil levels were lower than expected, discovering oil staining on the floor and Eastern’s replacement of the oil lines, Eastern delivered another 429 gallons. However, after the delivery, additional leaks were discovered relating to the oil line replacements. Ultimately, the Insureds submitted a claim to American and American paid in excess of $59,000 for the damage incurred.

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This entry was posted in Connecticut, Contracts, Public Policy, Subrogation, Uncategorized, Waiver of Subrogation and tagged , , , , , .
Signing Agreement

Eggshell Plaintiffs Can Help Maximize Your Subrogation Recovery to Include Building Code Upgrades

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In a recent unpublished opinion, Hale v. Bassette, No. HHD-CV-20-6124046-S, 2022 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2292, the Superior Court of Connecticut held that the plaintiff was entitled to recover building code upgrade costs associated with repairing a 150-year-old home damaged by the defendant’s negligence. In reaching its decision, the court applied the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, a legal principle that is more commonly applied in personal injury actions.  The doctrine says that a negligent defendant takes the injured plaintiff as he or she is found, making the defendant responsible for any injury that is magnified by the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition or injury.  The court found the fact that the home was 150 years old and susceptible to greater damage did not relieve the defendant of its obligation to make the plaintiff whole.

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Careless Smoking Causation Defense Goes Up in Smoke in Connecticut

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In Conn. Interlocal Risk Mgmt. Agency v. Jackson, 2019 Conn. LEXIS 230 (Sept. 1, 2019) (Conn. Interlocal), the Supreme Court of Connecticut considered a careless smoking case and whether, as a matter of first impression, Connecticut should adopt the alternative liability doctrine first set forth in Summers v. Tice, 199 P.2d 1 (Cal. 1948). Recognizing that the doctrine is a sound one, the court adopted it for cases proceeding in Connecticut. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Connecticut, Negligence, Subrogation and tagged , , , .
Construction Defect

In Connecticut, Contractors and Subcontractors are Presumptively in Privity for Res Judicata Purposes

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While pursuing contractors and subcontractors separately can oftentimes be a strategic move in subrogation cases involving construction defects, attorneys must be aware that proceeding in a piecemeal fashion may result in claim preclusion in the later cases. In the case of Girolametti v. Michael Horton Assocs., 2019 Conn. LEXIS 172, 2019 WL 2559548, the Supreme Court of Connecticut considered whether the issuance of an arbitration decision involving the general contractor precluded subsequent claims against subcontractors who worked on the same project. The court held that, because the subcontractors were presumptively in privity with the general contractor for purposes of res judicata and there were no facts requiring the court to depart from that presumption, the doctrine of res judicata applied and precluded the plaintiff’s claims against the subcontractors. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Arbitration, Connecticut, Construction Defects, Res Judicata and tagged , , .
Water Loss

Connecticut Supreme Court Holds That Landlord’s Insurer Can Pursue Equitable Subrogation If Lease Requires Tenant Have Insurance and Holds Tenant Responsible for Damage

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In Amica Mutual Insurance Company v. Muldowney, 328 Conn. 428 (2018), the Connecticut Supreme Court considered whether a landlord’s insurance carrier could subrogate against the landlord’s tenants for property damage when the lease did not specifically authorize subrogation. The court held that, while subrogation was not expressly allowed, the language in the lease requiring the tenants to have liability insurance and holding them liable for damage was sufficient to overcome Connecticut’s common law presumption that a landlord’s carrier cannot subrogate against a tenant. This case emphasizes the importance of analyzing every aspect of a lease when determining the true intent of the parties with respect to subrogation. Continue reading

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