Kolich v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America
A policyholder who allegedly experiences severe emotional distress as a result of the denial of his insurance claim and the rescission of his insurance policy, can possess a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress against the insurance company. The plaintiff, Daniel Kolich, alleged that he suffered "severe and significant financial, emotional and psychologist distress," because the defendant insurance company failed to compensate the plaintiff, when his property was damaged in a fire. Allegedly, Kolich paid all of the premiums owed for his landlord insurance policy and timely submitted his claims for property damage and loss of use or loss of rent. The defendant insurance company allegedly found that there was a material misrepresentation and rescinded the insurance policy. Kolich sued the insurance company, and it moved to strike Kolich's emotional-distress count, for failure to state a claim. To prevail on emotional distress, Kolich must prove: 1.) the defendant's conduct created an unreasonable risk of creating emotional distress; 2.) Kolich's distress was foreseeable; 3.) Kolich's distress was severe enough to result in illness or bodily injury; and 4.) the defendant's conduct caused Kolich's distress. "The plaintiff must prove that the defendant should have realized that its conduct involved an unreasonable risk of causing emotional distress and that that distress, if it were caused, might result in illness or bodily harm," pursuant to Davis v. Davis, a 2009 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The plaintiff's complaint, construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, adequately alleged a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress, and the court denied the defendant insurance company's motion to strike.