The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co. v. Zachs
A homeowner's alleged conduct in harboring and concealing a fugitive for two decades may not qualify as an accident or occurrence. In August 1988, a jury convicted Adam Zachs of the 1987 murder of Peter Carone, and Zachs was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Zachs posted bail and fled to Mexico. Allegedly, Zachs' father, Frederick Zachs, enlisted his company workers to help his son flee to Mexico, and Frederick Zachs informed law enforcement he did not know how his son absconded. In 2011, law enforcement apprehended Adam Zachs, and his father pled guilty to harboring or concealing a convicted person, in violation of 18 United States Code §1071. Frederick Zachs was sentenced to six months in prison. Adelyne Carone, the parent of the deceased victim, sued Frederick Zachs, alleging that she suffered emotional distress and experienced heartache and difficulty sleeping, because the alleged murderer of her child fled to Mexico. The plaintiff insurance company defended Frederick Zachs, pursuant to a reservation of rights, and requested a declaratory judgment that the insurer was not required to defend and indemnify, pursuant to Frederick Zachs' homeowners' insurance. Frederick Zachs argued that his homeowners' insurance covered "bodily injury" and that Adelyne Carone's complaint alleged that she suffered heartache and difficulty sleeping. In Taylor v. Mucci, a 2008 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court wrote that bystander emotional distress was not "bodily injury" under an insurance policy that defined bodily injury as "any bodily injury, sickness, disease or death sustained by any person." In Moore v. Continental Casualty Co., a 2000 decision, the high court held that emotional distress was not "bodily injury," under a policy that defined bodily injury as "bodily harm, sickness or disease." The Superior Court was not persuaded that emotional distress, even when accompanied by physical symptoms, qualifies as "bodily injury" under a homeowners' insurance policy. The court also found that Frederick Zachs' conduct, when he allegedly harbored and concealed a fugitive for two decades, did not qualify as an accident or occurrence. The plaintiff insurance company lacked the duty to defend or indemnify, and the court granted judgment to the insurer.