A federal court judge asks the Ohio Supreme Court to determine whether COVID-19's presence can be considered an insured direct physical loss or damage to property under state law.
Judge Benita Y. Pearson, the U.S. District Court of Youngstown, asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule on a COVID-19 business interruption lawsuit filed by an audiology firm, Boardman, Ohio-based Neuro-Communication Services Inc., against its insurer, The Cincinnati Insurance Co. The case is Neuro-Communication Services Inc., etc. v. Cincinnati Insurance Co .; Cincinnati Casualty Co .; and The Cincinnati Indemnity Co.
Neuro-Communication, which had purchased an all-risk policy from Cincinnati, filed a business interruption in March, which the insurer denied on the grounds that it did not involve a direct physical loss to the property.
"Dozens, if not hundreds, of pandemic-related losses under policies similar or identical to those in this case have been filed in both federal and state Ohio courts," Judge Pearson said. in the certification decision submitted to the Supreme Court.
"As these cases extend through different court systems, different interpretations of Ohio contract law by different courts threaten to undermine the uniform application of that law to similar disputes. "The certification procedure invoked here will enable the Supreme Court of Ohio to rule on these issues and provide consistency in the application of state law to these policies," it said.
The order was issued on the same day that a federal district court in Cleveland refused to dismiss COVID-1