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COVID-19 Business Interruption Suits: An Overview Of Decisions To Date | Goodwin

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the United States economy in a profoundly negative manner. Retail stores, restaurants and other direct-customer-facing businesses have been especially hard hit. Throughout the U.S., most states and municipalities have at various points throughout the pandemic issued “shut down” orders to businesses in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. Businesses complied and suffered tremendous losses as a result. As we forecasted, many businesses subsequently filed claims with their commercial liability insurers, typically claiming that their losses are covered under the “business interruption” or the “civil authority” provisions of their policies. Those provisions are generally intended to provide coverage as follows:

US Judicial Panel on MDL Denied Some, Approved One BI Insurance Suit

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Friday, October 9, 2020
Efforts by some policyholders to consolidate ongoing insurance coverage lawsuits against four insurers into a business interruption MDL were upended this week when the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied their requests to consolidate cases, but allowed some to consolidate their cases against a fifth. The business interruption MDL created by the JPML follows the JPML decision in August, where it declined to consolidate a spate of nationwide coverage cases brought largely by restaurants, gyms, salons and dental practices, into a single MDL, but left the door open to insurer-specific MDLs. While acknowledging that “time is of the essence” and that many policyholder plaintiffs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are “on the brink of bankruptcy,” the panel ultimately felt it was less efficient to consolidate the majority of claims against the insurers.

COVID-19 Business Interruption Litigation: Lessons Learned So Far | Perkins Coie

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Rose’s 1, LLC v. Erie Ins. Exchange, No. 2020 CA 002424 B, 2020 WL 4589206 (D.C. Super. Aug. 6, 2020), the judges ruled that the policies at issue required some evidence of actual physical damage to property that had structurally altered the property. These rulings were made even though the policies at issue used extraordinarily broad, undefined policy terms and contained no provisions that mention, much less require, “structural,” “alteration,” or structural “integrity.” The complaints in
Gavrilides and
Rose’s 1 alleged some type of damage to property from COVID-19, but both courts determined that there was no adequate claim of “property damage” because both complaints also alleged that losses incurred after government orders shuttered the properties were covered under the policies civil authority clauses. Both courts additionally believed that the policies at issue required physical alteration to property

Major Trends In COVID-19 Business Interruption Lawsuits

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Major Trends In COVID-19 Business Interruption Lawsuits
By
Lee Siegel and Ryan Maxwell
Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our weekly newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the weekly Coronavirus briefing.
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Major Trends In COVID-19 Business Interruption Lawsuits

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Major Trends In COVID-19 Business Interruption Lawsuits
By
Lee Siegel and Ryan Maxwell
Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our weekly newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the weekly Coronavirus briefing.
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What Litigation Has the Coronavirus Spurred? Force Majeure, Insurance, Real Estate & More | Arent Fox

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In the wake of the coronavirus, businesses and courts remain shuttered as a result of stay-at-home government orders. Businesses and organizations are grappling daily with the changed circumstances that the virus brought. Below we offer a summary of court complaints filed in four key areas in the weeks immediately following the lockdown orders. No decisions have been reached.
Force Majeure/Contracts
In New York, the company known for comic con event planning sued its third party software company in federal court for refusing to refund electronic tickets to customers after the March 20-22, 2020 event was canceled due to the coronavirus and attendant governmental orders. Plaintiff seeks refunds and damages, citing a provision in the parties’ Ticketing Agreement that excuses a party’s performance if it was prevented, hindered, delayed or otherwise made impracticable due to “governmental action” or an “act of god.” Similarly, other event ticket buyers have sued in federal court for cash refunds denied them by Seat Geek. In another New York case

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money: COVID-19 related class actions are hitting the fan

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Send Lawyers, Guns and Money: COVID-19 related class actions are hitting the fan
 
In 1978 Warren Zevon released the hit "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money," which is purported to be about a troubled youth visiting Cuba who writes home to his father for help when things turn dicey. The song ends with the chorus: "Send lawyers, guns and money. The s*** has hit the fan." Businesses and educational institutions that are still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are now facing a new challenge. COVID-19 related class action litigation is now hitting the fan. In particular businesses and educational institutions that collected revenue in advance and are now not providing the goods or services due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been targeted. A Wisconsin-based insurer has also been hit with two coverage class actions. These filings are likely the first wave of COVID-19 related class action filings.

Business Interruption Insurance: The Ongoing Case For Coverage | Cole Schotz

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Since COVID-19 swept through the country, numerous articles have commented on the lack of business interruption insurance in commercial property policies based on two key standard policy provisions – (i) the loss of net income caused by “
direct physical loss of insured property” and (ii) the Virus Exclusion.  As a general rule of interpretation, most courts will interpret coverage provisions in a policy broadly and, most often, in a way that favors coverage.  Furthermore, courts invariably strictly interpret exclusions and will enforce a plainly written exclusion to support a carrier’s decision to deny coverage. A few lawsuits have now been filed across the country involving policies that allegedly do not contain the Virus Exclusion.  These lawsuits challenge the interpretation of the provision requiring direct physical loss to insured property in order to obtain the coverage afforded under the respective policies.

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