Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • July 08, 2020

    Judge Grants Insurer’s Motion For Summary Disposition In COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan judge granted an insurer’s motion for summary disposition during a July 1 hearing broadcasted on the judge’s personal meeting room on YouTube, finding that an insured’s complaint alleging loss of business due to shutdown orders in response to the novel coronavirus contains “no allegations of direct, physical loss of or damage to” its restaurants (Gavrilides Management Company LLC, et al. v. Michigan Insurance Co., No. 20-000258-CB, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).

  • July 08, 2020

    Insurer: Insureds Failed To Plead Covered Losses Under Policy Provisions

    SAN FRANCISCO — The owners of two San Francisco restaurants have failed to state any claim for relief in arguing that their insurer breached the terms of a commercial property insurance policy and acted in bad faith when it denied coverage for losses the restaurants suffered as a result of stay-at-home orders issued in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic because they have failed to sufficiently show that their losses fall within the policies’ business income or civil authority additional coverages, the insurer argues in a June 29 motion to dismiss in California federal court (Nari Suda LLC v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co., No. 20-3057, N.D. Calif.).

  • July 08, 2020

    Pennsylvania Restaurant: Virus Exclusion Does Not Apply To Losses Over Coronavirus

    PITTSBURGH — A restaurant and tavern operator filed a class action against its “all-risk” commercial property insurer for breach of contract and declaratory relief in a federal court in Pennsylvania on June 11, arguing that its business interruption losses caused by the novel coronavirus and the subsequent shutdown orders “arise from direct physical loss or damage” and that the policy’s virus exclusion does not apply (1 S.A.N.T., Inc. v. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., et al., No. 20-862, W.D. Pa.).

  • July 08, 2020

    Law Firm In ‘Hotspot’ Sues Insurer Over Losses Arising From COVID-19, Closures

    NEW YORK — A Manhattan law firm on June 29 filed a class action in a federal court in New York alleging that its “all risk” commercial property insurer breached their contract by refusing to pay claims related to the novel coronavirus, arguing that the insurance policy “exemplifies the broken promise from insurance companies across the country” (Siegel & Siegel, et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-04993, S.D. N.Y.).

  • July 07, 2020

    Insured Reinforces ‘Forum Shopping’ Argument In Coronavirus Coverage Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A law firm insured on July 6 replied to a business owners insurer’s opposition to its earlier motion asking a federal court in California to dismiss or, alternatively, stay the insurer’s lawsuit seeking a declaration that the presence or suspected presence of the novel coronavirus does not constitute “direct physical loss or damage” to trigger coverage for the insured’s claimed loss of income (Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America v. Geragos & Geragos, No. 20-03619, C.D. Calif.).

  • July 07, 2020

    Judge: Summary Judgment Not Warranted In Breach Of Contract Suit Over Storm Damage

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on July 6 denied an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from storm damage, finding that it suffered no prejudice for the insured’s failure to comply with the insurance policy’s conditions precedent (SFR Services, LLC v. Lexington Insurance Company, No. 19-229, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117987).

  • July 07, 2020

    Property Insurer Breached Contract, Acted In Bad Faith In Denying COVID-19 Claim

    PHILADELPHIA — A property insurer breached its contract and acted in bad faith in using a pollution exclusion to deny coverage for business interruption and extra expenses arising out of the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an insured contends in a June 24 complaint filed in Pennsylvania court (Fegley Management & Energy, LLC, et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., et al., No. 200601426, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

  • July 06, 2020

    Dentist Reinforces Argument In Favor Of Staying COVID-19 Suit Pending JPMDL Ruling

    SEATTLE — A dentist insured argues in a June 26 reply that stay of his class action seeking coverage for losses stemming from the interruption of business due to the novel coronavirus pandemic is warranted in “the interest of judicial economy, potential cost savings, and because there will be little, if any, prejudice” to the insurer “during the anticipated short duration of the requested stay” (Mark Germack DDS v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-00661, W.D. Wash.).

  • July 02, 2020

    Panel Won’t Reconsider Revival Of Bad Faith, Punitive Damages Claims In Wildfire Suit

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals panel on July 1 denied a homeowners insurer’s petition to rehear its reversal of a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer on insureds’ bad faith and punitive damages claims after finding that it cannot determine that it is undisputed that the insurer’s basis for denying the insureds’ supplemental wildfire damage claims was reasonable (Leonard Fadeeff, et al. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. A155691, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2).

  • July 02, 2020

    Minor League Baseball Teams Voluntarily Dismiss COVID-19 Coverage Dispute

    PHILADELPHIA — Minor league baseball teams on July 2 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of their breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-03032, E.D. Pa.).

  • July 01, 2020

    Insured: Who Bears Risk When Government Orders Business Closed For Over 2 Months?

    BAY CITY, Mich. — A chiropractor insured filed a class action complaint in a Michigan federal court challenging insurers’ “systematic and uniform refusal to pay insureds” for their losses arising from Michigan’s March 24 executive order and related actions that suspended business operations in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Turek Enterprises, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-11655, E.D. Mich.).

  • June 30, 2020

    Day Care Sues Insurer For Bad Faith Handling Of Business Interruption Claim

    BOSTON — An operator of day care centers sued its commercial property insurance provider in Massachusetts federal court on June 29, alleging that the insurer breached its contract with the insured and acted in bad faith in failing to provide business interruption coverage after the day care centers were forced to limit their business operations to families of first responders in response to the commonwealth’s implementation of a stay-at-home order in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic (Pakachoag Acres Day Care Center Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., No. 20-40083, D. Mass.).

  • June 30, 2020

    Expenses Incurred In Cleaning Up COVID-19 Contamination, Restaurants Argue

    PHILADLEPHIA — Philadelphia restaurants on June 19 sued their insurers for breach of contract and bad faith in a Pennsylvania court, contending that they “have had to incur expenses in cleaning up the pollution and contamination caused by the novel coronavirus and this clean-up continues to the present and likely will continue into the foreseeable future” (The Marathon Grill Inc., et al. v. State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 200600918, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).

  • June 26, 2020

    JPMDL To Hear Oral Arguments In COVID-19 Business Interruptions Suits

    WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on June 26 issued an order indicating that it will hear oral arguments on July 30 to determine whether the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania or the Northern District of Illinois is the better forum to transfer lawsuits seeking business interruption coverage for losses arising from governmental closure orders prompted by the coronavirus pandemic (In re:  COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Litigation, No. 2942, JPMDL).

  • June 26, 2020

    Restaurant Seeks To Stay COVID-19 Coverage Suit Pending JPMDL Ruling

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A self-proclaimed “mom and pop” South Carolina restaurant owner on June 25 moved a Pennsylvania federal court to stay its class action breach of contract, bad faith and unjust enrichment complaint against its all-risk commercial insurer for “swiftly” denying its claim for coverage for its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the insurer will suffer no prejudice if the lawsuit is stayed pending the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation’s resolution of two motions to transfer “this and nearly 200 other related cases in 38 federal districts” “for centralized pretrial proceedings” (Richard Kahn, et al. v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company, No. 20-00781, M.D. Pa.).

  • June 23, 2020

    Judge Rejects Insureds’ Contention That Their Home Is No Longer Elevated

    HOUSTON — A federal judge in Florida on June 10 entered final judgment in favor of a Write-Your-Own insurer in a breach of contract lawsuit arising from Hurricane Harvey flood damage, finding that the insureds have failed to demonstrate that enclosing the space between their lowest elevated floor and ground level changed their elevated home to nonelevated (Nazmudin and Rozhan Keshwani v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 18-3797, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105153).

  • June 23, 2020

    Baseball Teams:  Denial Of COVID-19 Losses Jeopardizes Future Of America’s Pastime

    PHILADELPHIA — Minor league baseball teams on June 23 sued their insurers for breach of contract, anticipatory breach of contract and declaratory relief, seeking business interruption coverage for their “catastrophic financial losses” stemming from the “first-ever cessation of Minor League Baseball” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Major League Baseball’s decision that its teams will not satisfy their contractual duties to provide players under contract to their affiliated teams in the Minor League (Chattanooga Professional Baseball LLC, et al. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., No. 20-03032, E.D. Pa.).

  • June 23, 2020

    Texas High Court Revives 2 TPPCA Suits Against Insurers Arising From Storm Damage

    AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on June 19 held that two appeals courts erred in concluding that insurers’ payment of appraisal awards for storm damage bars their insureds’ claims under the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act (TPPCA), reversing and remanding for the trial courts to consider the TPPCA claims in light of Barbara Technologies Corp. v. State Farm Lloyds, 589 S.W.3d 806 (Tex. 2019), and Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds, 589 S.W.3d 127 (Tex. 2019) (Della R. Perry v. United Services Automobile Association, No. 19-0210, Texas Sup., 2020 Tex. LEXIS 564; William Marchbanks v. Liberty Insurance Corporation, No. 18-0977, Texas Sup., 2020 Tex. LEXIS 566).

  • June 22, 2020

    Claims In Business Loss Income Suit Precluded By Virus Exclusion, Insurer Says

    LOS ANGELES — Dismissal of an insured bar’s claims in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit stemming from its insurer’s denial of its business income loss coverage claim for losses sustained when the bar was forced to cease operations as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus is necessary because the insured’s policy explicitly excludes coverage for such losses under a virus exclusion, the insurer argues in a June 3 motion to dismiss filed in California federal court (Pez Seafood DTLA LLC v. The Travelers Indemnity Co., et al., No. 20-4699, C.D. Calif.).

  • June 19, 2020

    Bars Sue Insurer For Bad Faith Over Denial Of Business Interruption Claims

    SAN FRANCISCO — Two bars sued their insurer in California federal court on June 18, alleging that the insurer breached the terms of their insurance policies and acted in bad faith in denying their claims for business interruption coverage after they were forced to cease operations in light of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place orders issued to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic (Grubstake Holdings LLC, et al. v. First Mercury Insurance Co., No. 20-4060, N.D. Calif.).