Civil No. H-88-712 (JAC), Civil No. H-89-430 (JAC)

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

781 F. Supp. 897; 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18980; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P13,067

December 9, 1991, Decided

December 10, 1991, Filed

CASE SUMMARY

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Defendant pipe installment company and defendant pipe distributor motioned for summary judgment in the action brought by plaintiff owner and plaintiff occupier under Connecticut’s products liability statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. § §  52.572m(c), 52-572m(b). The owner and occupier cross-motioned for partial summary judgment.

OVERVIEW: The owner and the occupier of a building brought suit against the pipe installation company and the pipe distributor to recover damages resulting from a water pipe rupture in the building. Asserted damages included employee salaries, benefits, and taxes for the unoccupied days, rent for the unoccupied days, and lost sales. All parties motioned for summary judgment. At issue was whether the damages were “commercial losses” and thus not recoverable under Connecticut’s products liability statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. § §  52.572m(c), 52-572m(b). The court held that as between commercial parties, commercial loss caused by a product was not harm and could not be recovered by a commercial claimant. However, Conn. Gen. Stat. §  52-572n(c) did not define “commercial loss.” The court reviewed persuasive authorities and concluded that commercial loss included all economic loss, direct or consequential, though possibly not physical property damage and damage to the product itself. Accordingly, the owner and occupier’s asserted losses were not recoverable under Connecticut’s products liability law. However, the court advised the occupier, as a lessee, to pursue a remedy as against its landlord.

OUTCOME: The court granted the pipe installment company and pipe distributor’s motions for summary judgment because the direct and consequential economic commercial losses of the owner and occupier were not recoverable under the Connecticut products liability statutory scheme.