In a policyholder's victory, a court of law has refused to dismiss COVID-19 business interruption litigation filed by a pub in Philadelphia against Lloyd & # 39 ;s of London, in a preliminary ruling.
In a brief order issued in Taps & Bourbon On Terrace, LLC v. Underwriters at Lloyds London and Main Line Insurance Offices, Inc. The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County said on Monday that all preliminary objections to the complaint was infringed.
A footnote to the decision issued by Judge Gary S. Glazer states: “At this very early stage, it would be premature for this court to (resolve) the actual decisions of the defendant to dismiss the plaintiff's claims.
'To regard the actual allegation made (by) the plaintiff's complaint as true, as this court must at present, the plaintiff has successfully undertaken to survive this stage of the proceedings.
“In addition, laws and facts are rapidly evolving in COVID-1
In its complaint in July, the pub claimed that Lloyd had denied its suspension claim "despite the clear language that provided coverage" for the losses incurred when it was ordered to be shut down by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's executive decision in March.
The complaint accuses the defendants of bad faith and negligent breach of contract.
Lloyd had argued that he had sought an "insurgent", stating that the case was dismissed on the ground that there was a "lack of complaint", that there was no "direct physical loss of or damage to" the pub's property as required by its coverage, and also pointed to a virus exclusion in the coverage.
Lloyd's lawyer said he did not comment. on ongoing disputes while Taps & Bourbon's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Commenting on the order, policyholder's attorney Michael S. Levine, a partner with Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in Washington, who is not involved in the case, said, 'Basically, the judge, if you will, appeared and said,' do not resign. I will allow the parties to discover precisely these issues. ””
Mr. Levine said, "The order is a" profit for policyholders, and it shows that these cases should not be dismissed briefly, that there are potential benefits in these cases, and that facts in each case are important. "
In October, a court in North Carolina divided the court in favor of a group of restaurants in pandemic-related business interruption disputes. Holding the state's order to close the restaurants was a covered physical loss under their policy.
So far, however, insurers have won in most cases, with the exception of a few, most of them by state courts.
More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here .