December 19, 2017

"CT Supreme Court Issues Punitive Damages Ruling Favorable to Policyholders"

This article appears today in the National Law Review, discussing a Connecticut Supreme Court opinion scheduled for official release on December 19.  The article reports that the Connecticut Supreme Court has rejected the argument that insurance coverage for punitive damages would violate that state's public policy.  Instead, "where an insurance policy expressly provides coverage for an intentional act, common-law punitive damages are properly included in such coverage."

The Supreme Court of California has reached the opposite conclusion.  Because Insurance Code section 533 prohibits insurers from covering losses caused by an insured's willful act, the Supreme Court has concluded that "our public policy prohibits indemnification of punitive damages."  (PPG Industries v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 310, 317.)