Commercial Insurance Claims

This past week Merlin Law Group attorneys, Amy Currotto and I, had the pleasure of participating in the American Bar Association’s two-day webinar titled “COVID 19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters.” As was described in my previous blog post, the online conference allowed property insurance attorneys from many different backgrounds to review and discuss key coverage issues, as well as provide listeners with the insight and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of COVID-19 business interruption litigation.
Continue Reading COVID-19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters – A Discussion with John Garaffa on the Decisions and Rationale of Recent Business Interruption Cases

Beginning today, June 2, 2021, and continuing on June 3rd, the American Bar Association will host attorneys for policyholders and insurance companies who will break down what to expect in future policy provisions as a result of Covid-19 claims and decisions. This two-day webinar will review key coverage issues and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of Covid-19 business interruption litigation. I have the pleasure of participating in this webinar as a member of the panel. On June 3rd, my colleague and fellow Merlin Law Group attorney, Amy Currotto, will be speaking on New Policy Provisions and What to Expect.
Continue Reading Sneak Peek at the American Bar Association Live Webinar: COVID 19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters – How Do Basic Contract Interpretation Principles Tie into the Latest Court Decisions and Rationale?

On June 2-3, the American Bar Association will host attorneys for policyholders and insurance companies who will break down what to expect in future policy provisions as a result of Covid-19 claims and decisions. This webinar will review key coverage issues and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of Covid-19 business interruption litigation.
Continue Reading American Bar Association Sponsors Webinar on Covid-19 Business Interruption Litigation

Most commercial property owners pay hefty premiums in return for commercial property insurance, often times in the form of an “all-risk” insurance policy. “All-risk” policies provide coverage for all covered losses unless otherwise expressly excluded by the insurer in the policy.
Continue Reading “In the Course of Construction” and Ambiguous “Builder’s Risk” Policy Provisions

Over the past few days, many enjoyed watching what’s been dubbed March Madness. The 64-team college basketball tournament usually draws a massive and lucrative following. People who don’t allocate any time watching basketball during the year will often time tune in to watch all of the madness that March has to offer.
Continue Reading NCAA’s March Madness Business (Bracket) Interruption Insurance Payout

As the United States battle vs. COVID-19 rages on, the battle within the (albeit virtual) court rooms are just starting to take off. Courts across the country are faced with the ultimate question: whether the widespread presence of the COVID-19 virus and resulting governmental closure orders constitute a fortuitous loss causing direct physical loss to insured property owners’ properties.
Continue Reading Ambiguities in Civil Authority Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Business Losses: “Prohibiting,” “Preventing,” “Denying” – What is the Difference?

Recently I was at a site inspection centered on business personal property. Items were skewed about in piles, where they had been placed in the aftermath of a storm. The building was damaged, as well as the contents inside of it. Upon review of the item catalogue, I remarked that such is akin to a scavenger hunt, where children hunt for items on a list and take a picture as proof of its existence. To which opposing counsel replied that this exercise of reviewing the catalogue was better simply because each proof of existence resulted in a monetary reward. He was right.
Continue Reading Business Personal Property Claim: The Scavenger Hunt

Insurance business interruption coverage has terms, philosophies, and calculations which are foreign to many. Lawyers for insurers will often challenge me by asking for a case which says their interpretation for some practice is wrong while looking for every manner “to win” by paying as little as possible. This mindset is what lead to a number of judges being duped into believing and ruling that the insurance industry meant that a business had to completely shut down in order to prove that business operations were “suspended.”
Continue Reading Suspension of Business Was Never Intended to Mean Total Cessation of Business Operations—Insurance Lawyers Duping Judges into Wrong Insurance Contract Interpretations

Jean Niven recently wrote a blog post about insurance coverage cases being won or lost based on expert witnesses and the preparation of their reports and testimony.

Mama Jo’s, Inc. d/b/a Berries, has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling1 that the restaurant is not entitled to coverage under an “all risk” commercial insurance policy for business income losses and expenses caused by construction dust and debris that migrated into the restaurant.
Continue Reading Restaurant Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Eleventh Circuit’s Ruling on “Direct Physical Loss”

Courts across the country have split on the key COVID-19 coverage question of whether a policyholder’s inability to fully operate its business caused by COVID-19 restrictions would satisfy the policy’s business interruption coverage requirement that the “loss” had to be a result from a “suspension of operations” caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to covered property.”
Continue Reading Multi-District Litigation Policyholders Win a Business Interruption Coverage Battle Over “Direct Physical Loss”