MINEOLA, N.Y. — A New York justice on Feb. 8 dismissed an insured’s lawsuit seeking coverage for its losses arising from the closure of its movie theater in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, concurring “with the majority view” that the insured’s loss of use of its premises because of the coronavirus-related shutdown orders does not constitute “direct physical loss of or damage to the property” under the policy and further noting that the insured fails to assert that it inquired about insurance coverage for government closures related to a pandemic.
NEWARK, N.J. — No coverage is owed for business losses sustained by an ophthalmology practice in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because a virus exclusion in the applicable policy applies as a bar to coverage, a New Jersey federal judge said Feb. 8.
ST. LOUIS — Property insurance policies are written to protect against damage and do not extend to business interruption caused by the likes of the novel coronavirus, two insurance advocacy groups told an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in a Jan. 20 amicus curiae brief.
BATON ROUGE, La. — An insurer’s arguments to exclude an expert witness in a breach of contract suit involving a flood insurance policy go to weight of the evidence, not its admissibility under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., a Louisiana federal judge ruled Jan. 28, denying the motion.
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Feb. 9 granted a commercial property insurer’s motion to dismiss its restaurant insured’s lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for its losses arising from the novel coronavirus after determining that the insured failed to allege facts in support of its breach of contract and bad faith claims; however, the judge said the insured is permitted to file a third amended complaint.
ATLANTA — An insured on Feb. 2 asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a lower federal court’s dismissal of its breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage for its business losses that were “directly caused” by government “stay-at-home” orders in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the lower court’s “ruling threatens to cause grave and in many cases irreparable harm to Florida’s small business community already suffering from the pandemic’s impact.”
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal magistrate judge on Feb. 5 recommended that a Florida federal court deny motions for summary judgment by an insured and its insurer in a coverage dispute arising from damage to 61-foot yacht caused by Hurricane Dorian, finding that neither party has demonstrated whether the insured’s breach of the Captain Warranty "increased the hazard by any means within the control of the insured.”
NEW YORK — Northwell Health Inc. sued two of its “all-risk” commercial property insurers in a federal New York Court on Feb. 8, arguing that it has experienced hundreds of millions of dollars of costs and losses that are covered under the policies because the presence of the novel coronavirus and the resulting COVID-19 disease caused direct physical loss of and/or damage to its covered property and the suspension of its business activities due to the coronavirus “includes a wide variety of procedures, some of which are anything but a matter of choice.”
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Noting that he “wholeheartedly” regrets that business owners “have had little to no luck seeking recourse in federal court,” a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 8 said he is “compelled” to agree with most of his colleagues and granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss a self-proclaimed “mom and pop” South Carolina restaurant owner’s class action seeking coverage for its business closure due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 4 found that a commercial property insurance policy’s “virus and bacteria” and “consequential loss” exclusions bar business income, extra expense and civil authority coverage for a hair salon insured’s claims arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown orders but that the insured’s claim under the policy’s communicable diseases coverage survives the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 4 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that an insurer is an arm of the state of Florida and, therefore, the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars an insured from bringing his claims in federal court.
TAMPA, Fla. — No coverage is owed for an insured restaurant chain’s business losses caused by shutdown orders issued by state governors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the insured did not sustain a physical loss to any of its insured properties, a Florida federal judge said Feb. 4 in granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
PHILADELPHIA — A restaurant insured on Jan. 21 asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reject a business insurer’s appeal seeking to reverse a lower court’s remand of its coverage lawsuit seeking recovery of damages caused by the novel coronavirus and governmental closure orders, arguing that it seeks solely declaratory relief involving novel state law issues related to the entitlement of coverage under policies issued to Pennsylvania business owners.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Resort hotel insureds on Feb. 1 moved a federal court in Puerto Rico to reconsider or hold in abeyance a Jan. 29 judgment that granted their insurer and insurance adjusters’ motions to dismiss their Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act lawsuit seeking coverage for Hurricane Maria damage.
PHILADELPHIA — A restaurant and tavern operator on Jan. 29 joined a motion with seven other insureds asking the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to consolidate their appeals of lower federal courts’ dismissals of their lawsuits seeking coverage for their business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders, contending that consolidation will achieve “significant efficiencies” and “facilitate certification" of "the novel and determinative questions of Pennsylvania law” that are discussed in each appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
HARTFORD, Conn. — A federal judge in Connecticut on Jan. 22 granted a motion filed by insureds to amend their complaint to more fully state their claim for bad faith against their homeowners insurance provider, ruling that such amendment would not be futile.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California judge on Jan. 28 overruled an insurer’s demurrer in a complaint seeking coverage for damages sustained as a result of the novel coronavirus after determining that the insurer failed to prove that the insured did not sustain a direct physical loss at its facility.
WINCHESTER, Tenn. — A homeowners insurer and insureds on Feb. 1 jointly moved for a protective order in the insureds’ breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit arising from their tornado property damage.
NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer on Jan. 29 opposed Ralph Lauren Corp.’s motion for partial judgment on the pleadings and cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings in the insured’s New Jersey federal lawsuit alleging that the novel coronavirus and subsequent stay-at-home orders have caused it to incur direct physical loss and physical damage, arguing that “this litigation boils down to four straightforward questions.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida insured on Jan. 14 filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of whether construction dust and debris constitutes “direct physical loss” to its restaurant to trigger coverage under an “all-risk” insurance policy and whether a court erred in excluding three of its causation experts under Daubert and its progeny, noting that “certain issues presented overlap with the recent proliferation of COVID-19 insurance cases across the country.”