The Acadia Insurance Co. v. The Connecticut Light & Power Co.
The Connecticut Product Liability Act may not provide the exclusive legal remedy, if a plaintiff's injury results from a defendant's "service," as opposed to a defendant's "product." In November 2010, homeowners who were insured by the plaintiff, The Acadia Insurance Co., allegedly suffered damages as a result of an electrical fire. The Acadia brought an insurance subrogation action against the defendant, The Connecticut Light & Power Co., alleging it caused the electrical fire. The defendant moved to dismiss counts alleging it breached a contract and was negligent and argued that these counts were barred by the exclusivity provision in the Connecticut Product Liability Act. The act provides that a "product liability claim . . . may be asserted and shall be in lieu of all other claims against product sellers, including actions of negligence, strict liability and warranty, for harm caused by a product." The Connecticut Supreme Court wrote in a 2003 decision, Gerrity v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., "[T]he language of the exclusivity provision makes clear that the product liability act was intended to serve as the exclusive remedy for a party who seeks recompense for those injuries caused by a product defect." The District Court found that the exclusivity provision in the Connecticut Product Liability Act may not bar Acadia's first and third counts for breach of contract and negligence, because electricity may not qualify as a "product," pursuant to the Connecticut Product Liability Act. Connecticut Light & Power previously argued in other suits that the provision of electricity constitutes a "service," as opposed to a "product." Here, the District Court wrote, "As electricity may not be a `product,' and as it is possible to construe the first and third counts as pleading that it is not, the Court cannot conclude as a matter of law that Counts One and Three are precluded by §52-572n(a)." Rule 8(d)(3) permits parties to plead inconsistent claims in the alternative. The District Court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss.