The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has ruled in favor of dismissing four separate Florida COVID-19 business-related cases filed by three restaurants and a furniture chain against several insurance companies in a joint statement.
The Court of Appeal said in last Thursday’s judgment that it consolidated its opinion after oral argument because the cases “present a common question of insurance coverage caused by the covid-9 pandemic, which was whether the plaintiffs’ insurances provided coverage for direct physical harm.” A panel of three judges considered that the policies did not provide coverage.
The fall was:
–SA Palm Beach v. Some underwriters at Lloyd̵7;s London, which was saved by a nice palm beach beach restaurant. The verdict upheld a lower court decision by the U.S. District Court in Palm Beach.
–Emerald Coast Restaurants, Inc. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., filed by a sports bar and restaurant in Destin and upheld by a U.S. District Court in Pensacola.
–Rococo Steak LLC, sba Rococo Steak v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., filed by a St. Petersburg steakhouse, which upheld a U.S. District Court decision in Tampa; and
–RTG Furniture Corp. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co .; Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co .; Evanston Insurance Co .; Everest Indemnity Insurance Co .; Hallmark Specialty Insurance Co., et al. The appeals court’s decision in the case, filed by a Seffer, Florida-based furniture retailer that operates more than 150 stores in several states, upheld a decision by another U.S. district court in Tampa.
By affirming the lower court decisions, the panel said it was considering how the Florida Supreme Court could decide the issue when making its decision.
“As far as we can tell, every federal and state appellate court that has ruled on the meaning of” physical loss of or damage to “property (or similar language) in connection with the covid-19 pandemic has reached the same conclusions and considered that a substantial change is required. of the property, it is stated in the judgment.
“As an independent matter, we conclude that the majority’s position is legally sound under Florida law,” it said, dismissing most of the allegations.
The verdict said that the district court did not reject a claim for damages made by the Emerald Coast, and withdrew that question for further consideration as to whether it survives Aspen’s motion to dismiss.
Lawyers in the case did not respond to requests for comment.