Bepco v. Johnson
A court can find that an insurance company that alleges that a septic system caused water damage is not entitled to summary judgment, if the issue is whether damages at the premises were caused by accidental discharge or overflow that took place away from the residence. The plaintiffs, Kimberly and Joseph Bepco, leased an apartment in Woodbury, Conn. On March 6, 2011, the plaintiffs observed that there was leaking. On March 7, the plaintiffs observed severe water damage. The plaintiffs called the defendant, Peerless Insurance, to report the damage. Peerless denied the plaintiffs’ claim, and the plaintiffs sued. Peerless moved for summary judgment and argued that damages were caused by the overflow of the septic tank, as opposed to the plumbing system. The court found that the insurance policy covered discharge or overflow of water from within a plumbing system. It did not cover loss on the premises caused by accidental discharge or overflow that took place away from the residence, and it excluded certain water damage. The insurance policy did not define the "plumbing" or the "septic" systems. Peerless did not provide an affidavit from its engineer. The court did not consider the engineer’s report, which was unauthenticated. Peerless failed to prove what caused the influx of water that led to damage. Absent evidence, the court could not find that there was no coverage. The court found that Peerless did not prove there were no genuine issues of material fact. The court denied Peerless’ motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ breach-of-contract count. The plaintiffs did not present evidence of bad faith, to support allegations that Peerless breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, because it did not pay the plaintiffs’ claim. The plaintiffs’ conclusory allegations were insufficient to allege that Peerless violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The majority of Connecticut Superior Courts have held that no private cause of action exists under the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act. The court granted summary judgment to Peerless on counts alleging breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violations of CUTPA and CUIPA.