On March 31, 2020, six Northern California Bay Area counties significantly limited construction activity. These orders will result in thousands of construction projects shutting down until at least May 3, 2020. What impact does this have on existing property insurance claims? The answer: a lot, and they will probably result in significant legal disputes.
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New York has joined New Jersey, Ohio, and Massachusetts with pending legislation regarding insurance coverage. At the same time, it is pretty obvious that the insurance industry is doing everything it can to explain how such legislation, if passed, would dwarf any ability to pay amounts claimed.
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Reggie Whitten and Michael Burrage filed lawsuits on behalf of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations in Oklahoma state court.1 The actions are similar to the declaratory judgment actions filed by John Houghtaling in Louisiana and California. I do not see how the Oklahoma cases are going to be removed to federal court because they lack diversity of citizenship for such jurisdiction.
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The French Laundry coronavirus lawsuit was noted in yesterday’s post, Coronavirus Insurance Coverage Update March 27—The French Laundry Files Suit Against Its Insurer Over Coronavirus Business Closure Claim Denial. John Houghtaling was kind to provide me a copy of the filing for our readers.
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New Jersey started the coronavirus business insurance legislation, but just like a virus, it is spreading to other jurisdictions. Ohio and Massachusetts filed very similar bills to what was filed in the New Jersey Assembly.
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Holly Soffer wrote a guest blog yesterday, COVID-19 and The New Jersey Assembly Bill 3844, which concerned a bill that would retroactively void the “virus” exclusion and potentially open up the business income loss, extra expense, and civil authority coverages under commercial policies to those businesses with less than 100 employees. I summarily dismissed this bill in, Coronavirus Insurance Coverage Update—Politicians Becoming Involved. But this involves New Jersey, and as one great sports commentator reminds us about our opinions, “not so fast, my friend.”
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Insurance company insurance defense counsel often offer articles and opinions worthy of study by policyholder advocates. Most of the time, third-party liability attorneys do not step over into first-party coverage issues. Yet, a notable liability attorney, Randy Maniloff, has done that regarding first-party coronavirus insurance coverage issues.
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