Bilyard v. Middlesex Mut. Ins. Co.

A Connecticut Superior Court ruled that arbitral immunity extended to an appraiser selected by the insurer pursuant to an appraisal provision in a homeowner’s policy. The policyholders sought to recover damages, but disputed the amounts owed under the policy. The policyholders demanded appraisal pursuant to the terms of the policy. The policyholders sued, alleging that the insurer’s appraiser intentionally interfered with the contractual relationship between the policyholders and their insurer. The appraiser filed a motion to dismiss, arguing he was immune from suits concerning the performance of his duties as an appraiser. The court addressed whether arbitral immunity extends to appraisers appointed pursuant to a standard appraisal clause in the insurance policy. It is well-established in Connecticut that an arbitrator is immune from suit for all acts he performs in his capacity as an arbitrator. The court found no binding Connecticut law extending arbitral immunity to appraisers who are appointed under a mandatory appraisal clause in an insurance policy. Instead, the court found a California court’s decision persuasive, which held that appraisers are subject to arbitral immunity. The court recognized that arbitral immunity is limited to conduct falling within the scope of the arbitrator’s duties. Ultimately, the court determined that the appraiser’s conduct took place in connection with his efforts to meet his duties as an appraiser to determine the amount of loss under the policy.