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Landlord Cannot Sue Tenant for Fire Damage When Fire Insurance Policy in Effect
Description Court dismissed a suit brought by a landlord against a tenant who accidentally started a fire that damaged an apartment. The tenant is a co-insured under a fire insurance policy and is not subject to subrogation by the landlord or the insurance company.
Topic Insurance
Key Words Subrogation; Co-Insureds
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Smith had rented an apartment from Malerba for six years when the premises were damaged by a fire caused by Smith's negligence of leaving combustible items in contact with an electric heater. The premises were insured for Malerba's benefit by Danbury Insurance. Malerba sued Smith for damages caused by the fire. Smith moved for dismissal, contending that the landlord and tenant were co-insureds under the landlord's policy and that there is no right of subrogation against the tenant.
Decision Summary judgment for defendant. The lease did not contain an agreement between the parties that Smith would be liable for any losses that resulted from his negligence. The fact that the lease states that Smith "agrees to repair all injury done so as to restore the apartment to its previous state" does not overcome the presumption that Smith is a co-insured of Malerba's fire insurance policy. The lease stated that Smith would be liable for loss of his personal property in case of fire and that he would comply with the terms of any fire insurance policy that Malerba had in force.
Citation Malerba v. Smith, 2000 WL 1409726 (Superior Ct., Conn., 2000)

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