• New Haven J.D., at New Haven
  • CV13-6039774S
  • Jan 09 2014 (Date Decided)
  • Nazzaro, J.

A golf cart that was not designed to be used on public roads may not qualify as an uninsured- or underinsured-motor vehicle. The plaintiff, Carl Andrade, alleged that he was a passenger in a golf cart that Peter Naiden was driving on July 1, 2011 when Naiden turned the golf cart and it tipped over. Allegedly, the plaintiff fell on the ground and was injured. Peter Naiden was uninsured or underinsured. The plaintiff sought uninsured- or underinsured-motorist benefits from his own insurance carrier, Kemper Independence Insurance. Kemper moved for summary judgment and argued that the subject insurance policy did not cover golf carts. The Superior Court held in East v. Labbe, a 1998 decision, that a golf cart did not qualify as a motor vehicle, because it was not designed to be operated on a highway. The subject golf cart lacked doors, seat belts, rear lights, side mirrors, a rear mirror, a speedometer and turn signals and did not qualify as a motor vehicle pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §14-1(53). "Without the essential safety features required for operation on a public road," wrote the court, "there is no question of fact that the golf cart was not designed to be suitable for operation on a highway." The subject policy provided, "[N]either `uninsured motor vehicle’ nor `underinsured motor vehicle’ includes any vehicle or equipment . . .[d]esigned mainly for use off public roads while not on public roads." The plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether the golf cart qualified as a motor vehicle. The golf cart clearly lacked safety features of a vehicle designed to be used mainly on public roads. The Kemper Independence insurance policy did not provide uninsured-motorist coverage for the subject accident with a golf cart, and the court granted Kemper Independence’s motion for summary judgment.

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