One of the craziest chapters ever written regarding insurance litigation involves Covid-19 first-party insurance cases. Judges, often without accepting any scientific evidence, simply ruled that Covid-19 does not cause physical damage. The Catch-22 issue is that the insurance industry wrote an endorsement to exclude Covid-19, and some insurers admitted that a covid type of scenario would be covered without a specific exclusion. 

Continue Reading Did a Major Insurer Admit in Its Claims Manual Coding That Covid-19 Causes Physical Loss?

United Policyholders Executive Director Amy Bach and I discussed how difficult and disastrous the coverage battles have been for policyholders regarding business income losses involving the pandemic. Some of the best policyholder lawyers in the United States have volunteered considerable time to support United Policyholders Covid Loss Recovery Initiative.  

Continue Reading “Physical Loss” and “Physical Damage” Are Still Being Debated—United Policyholders Is Still Fighting The Good Fight 

In June, we noted in Louisiana Appellate Court Finds Coverage For Covid Business Losses, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal opinion1 reversing a trial court’s judgment against an insured business affected by COVID-19. The case, Cajun Conti LLC, Cajun Cuisine 1 LLC, and Cajun Cuisine LLC d/b/a Oceana Grill v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London and Governor John B. Edwards in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Louisiana, and the State of Louisiana, involves a popular New Orleans restaurant, known as Oceana Grill, which requested the trial court declare Business Interruption coverage existed under their policy. This type of request is referred to as a “Petition for Declaratory Relief,” as opposed to a request that a court compels another party to pay for losses that were caused by that party (referred to as a “Petition for Damages”).
Continue Reading The Difference in the Outcome of Your COVID-19 Business Interruption Suit May Depend on Which Court You File In

Insurance companies should prove the reason for not paying a claim under an all risk insurance policy. The denial should not stand on false opinions of fact. This was the point of a brief filed by a medical society in a covid business income claim pending before the New Hampshire Supreme Court.1
Continue Reading Science Debunks Insurers False Opinions That Covid Does Not Physically Damage Property

The Louisiana Court of Appeals found that coverage exists for loss or damage caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to” the insured premises as a result of contamination by COVID-19.1 I have previously discussed the case following the trial in Chip At @2 Will Be At 2:30 With Update on New Orleans Oceana COVID Trial Won By the Insurer, and attached briefs and various depositions. John Houghtaling and other attorneys representing the policyholder deserve a big shout-out for bringing home a win. It was not easy.
Continue Reading Louisiana Appellate Court Finds Coverage For Covid Business Losses

Amy Bach is the Executive Director of United Policyholders. Last week, I had breakfast with her at the world-famous Sears Fine Food restaurant in San Francisco’s Union Square. We discussed a number of the projects United Policyholders is involved in, including the Covid Loss Recovery Initiative and Amicus Curiae Project. An “amicus curiae” brief is often called a “friend of the court” brief filed by a non-party to a lawsuit. This is part of what United Policyholders says about its ongoing Amicus Curiae Project:
Continue Reading United Policyholders Files An Amicus Brief Regarding Covid Lost Income Claims In Ohio Supreme Court

Stempel and Knutsen on Insurance Coverage is a leading American insurance law treatise. The professors have also have published the fifth edition of Principles Of Insurance Law. The authors of those treatises were recently published in a University of Connecticut law review article, Infected Judgment: Problematic Rush to Conventional Wisdom and Insurance Coverage Denial in a Pandemic,1 which is a must read for those whose interest is insurance policy interpretation and those involved with Covid lost business income claims. Since the article is critical of many Covid business income judicial opinions at the motion to dismiss stage, judges and their law clerks involved with these cases should also look for guidance from these very respected insurance law professors.
Continue Reading Covid Business Interruption Claims Law Review Article Is a Must Read For Students Of Insurance Policy Interpretation

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