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Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Murphy

Connecticut Supreme Court
538 A.2d 219 (1988)

Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. v. Murphy


George A. Murphy III (plaintiff), a dentist, terminated a lease in a building insured by Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. (Aetna). In dismantling his office, Murphy caused damage to the building. Murphy personally possessed comprehensive liability insurance provided by Federal Insurance Company, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies (Chubb) (defendant). Murphy’s contract with Chubb required him to give notice to the company of insured incidents “as soon as practicable,” and notice of any claims or suits brought against him “immediately.” Aetna brought suit against Murphy for the building damages in 1983, but Murphy did not forward this information to Chubb until 1986. At this time, Murphy successfully impleaded Chubb as a third-party defendant in his suit with Aetna. Chubb moved for summary judgment on the ground that it was not liable to provide coverage for Murphy because Murphy violated the notice provisions of his insurance contract by unreasonably delaying to inform Chubb of the insured incident. The trial court granted Chubb’s motion for summary judgment. Murphy appealed on the ground that despite his inexcusable and unreasonable delay in giving notice, he was still entitled to insurance coverage because Chubb failed to allege or show prejudice due to the late notice.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Peters, C.J.)

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