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Insurer prevails in first jury trial over COVID-19 coverage

(Reuters) – The Cincinnati Insurance Co Inc doesn’t must cowl losses suffered by a Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant operator on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, a jury has discovered.

The verdict, handed down by a jury in federal court docket in Kansas City on Thursday, got here on the finish of the first jury trial over whether or not an insurer should cowl companies’ COVID-related losses.

Brett Emison of Langdon & Emison, a lawyer for plaintiff Okay.C. Hopps Ltd, and Ericka Hammett of Litchfield Cavo, a lawyer for Cincinnati Insurance, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Okay.C. Hopps was one in every of many companies across the nation to sue over denial of insurance coverage coverage for misplaced enterprise in the course of the pandemic. Nearly all such circumstances have been determined earlier than trial in favor of insurers, as enterprise insurance policies usually cowl solely bodily harm to premises or particularly exclude coverage for infectious illnesses.

In Okay.C. Hopps’ case, nonetheless, U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough cited testimony from the plaintiff’s specialists that COVID-19 had a “physical” presence that rendered a enterprise unsafe except it was eliminated, denying Cincinnati Insurance’s movement for abstract judgment and ordering a trial.

According to the COVID Coverage Litigation Tracker on the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, greater than 2,000 circumstances had been filed by companies towards insurers over COVID-related losses as of late September. About 73% of insurers’ motions to dismiss determined by state courts have been granted, and about 93% in federal court docket, in accordance with the tracker.

The case is Okay.C. Hopps Ltd v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co Inc, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, 4:20-cv-00437.

For Okay.C. Hopps: Brett Emison of Langdon & Emison and others

For Cincinnati Insurance: Ericka Hammett of Litchfield Cavo

Brendan Pierson

Brendan Pierson reviews on product legal responsibility litigation and on all areas of well being care legislation. He might be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.

REUTERS/Emily Elconin

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