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Northern District of Ohio Grants Insured's Motion to Dismiss in COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Case - Insurance Coverage

Insurance Coverage

Posted on: Mar 1, 2021

By Jon Noyes, Wilson Kehoe Winingham

On February 19, 2021, the Northern District of Ohio dismissed an insured’s complaint seeking coverage for business losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The court held that the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause the insured to suffer a “direct physical loss of or damage to” its property. The court concluded “that ‘direct’ and ‘physical’ are adjectives describing both ‘loss of’ and "damage to" the insured premises.” Brunswick Panini’s, LLC v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 1:20CV1895 (N.D. Oh. Feb. 19, 2021)(slip op. at 14-15). Because COVID-19 did not physically damage the insured’s premises, there was no coverage. Id.

Additionally, the court held that the policy’s “microorganism exclusion” was binding and precluded any claim. The exclusion included “virus[es],” and the court rejected the insured’s attempt to distinguish the virus itself from the pandemic conditions caused by the virus. 

As with other COVID-19 insurance coverage cases, this case should provide guidance to lawyers litigating these emerging issues. Read more from Law360 here.

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