Allstate Insurance Co. v. Dubois
An insurance company may possess the duty to defend and to indemnify, if there are genuine issues of material fact concerning the location of the subject accident and whether an exclusion for criminal acts applies. The underlying complaint alleged that the defendant, John Dubois, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §14-227a, and negligently operated a snowmobile, which struck Allan Babick. The plaintiff, Allstate Insurance Co., requested a declaratory judgment from the court that Allstate is not legally responsible to defend and to indemnify Dubois, who has a homeowner's insurance policy. Allstate alleged that the accident took place on Pachaug Pond in Griswold. As a result of the accident, Dubois was charged with 2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle, 2nd degree reckless endangerment, operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and operating at an unreasonable speed. Allstate argued that motor-vehicle and criminal acts exclusions barred coverage. If allegations in the underlying complaint fall even possibly within coverage, the insurance company must defend the insured. The defendant argued that he has rights to Pachaug Pond and that the water-covered land adjacent to the premises constitutes part of the insured premises. The court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether the accident took place at a location that was insured. The defendant insured also argued that he was not engaged in criminal activity and did not believe he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There was a question whether the defendant insured consumed alcohol after the accident. The court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether Dubois was under the influence at the time of the subject accident and, if so, whether the policy exclusion for criminal acts applies. Allstate failed to meet the burden of proof and the court found that Allstate possesses the duty to defend and to indemnify Dubois.