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January 2022 Insurance Update: Reviewing End-of-2021 Decisions Dismissing Policyholder Coverage Suits for COVID-19 Losses
January 2022 Insurance Update: Reviewing End-of-2021 Decisions Dismissing Policyholder Coverage Suits for COVID-19 Losses

In this post, we summarize three end-of-2021 decisions that dismissed coverage suits by policyholders seeking business income, extra expense and civil authority coverage for COVID-19 losses. As the Southern District of New York recognized in the case that is the subject of our first summary, J. Kleinhaus and Sons v. Valley Forge Ins. Co., an “avalanche of authority” has now reached the same conclusion.

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New York - Property Coverage - COVID-19 Physical Loss or Damage

The Southern District of New York in J. Kleinhaus and Sons v. Valley Forge Ins. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 239127 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 14, 2021) rejected J. Kleinhaus’ bid for business income, extra expense, and civil authority coverage for losses it sustained as a result of COVID-19 business closures, reasoning that an “avalanche of authority” has held that COVID-19 does not qualify as “physical loss or damage” for coverage purposes.

Click here to read this case summary and analysis


New Jersey - Property Coverage - COVID-19 Virus Exclusion

The District of New Jersey in Learning Experience Corp. v. Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Ins. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 238576 (D.N.J. Dec. 14, 2021) found no coverage for business income, extra expense, and civil authority losses caused by COVID-19 closure orders on the basis of a virus exclusion, as “[t]here is near unanimous agreement in this district that virus exclusion provisions” apply to COVID-19 claims.

Click here to read this case summary and analysis.


Pennsylvania - Property Coverage - COVID-19 Physical Loss or Damage

The Middle District of Pennsylvania in State Street Restaurant Group v. Cincinnati Cas. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220028 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 15, 2021) “join[ed] the rising tide of caselaw” finding that “losses resulting from COVID mandated closings and restrictions… are not encompassed by the terms of most commercial insurance policies.”

Click here to read this case summary and analysis.

  • Nicholas W. Urciuoli
    Partner

    Nicholas Urciuoli advises clients in all stages of complex litigation, including pre-suit counseling. He regularly represents property and casualty insurers in first- and third-party coverage disputes involving primary ...

  • Bryan A. Small
    Associate

    Bryan Small is an associate in Connell Foley's Insurance Coverage Group. Prior to joining the firm, Bryan worked on life, health, and disability insurance matters in the Newark office of a Philadelphia-based firm. Previously he ...

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