At least 1,000 lawsuits related to COVID-19 business interruption insurance claims have been filed in courts across the United States, representing about 23% of all pandemic-related complaints, which also include labor lawsuits and contract disputes, according to the South Florida Business Journal. More than 10% of those lawsuits have been filed in Florida, one of the hardest-hit states in the country.
Only New York and California have racked up more COVID-19 lawsuits. In Florida, 31% are due to business interruption insurance. Among them is the historic Miracle Theater in Coral Gables, which suffered financial hardships when the state ordered the closure of non-essential businesses to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The theater, along with other businesses in the state and across the country, paid high premiums for insurance policies with business interruption insurance, which provides coverage of operating expenses in the event a business must close temporarily due to a disaster. But most of those claims are being denied on the grounds that pandemic-related closures are not the kinds of disasters covered by the policies.
Businesses, however, are fighting back by filing lawsuits against their insurers for breach of contract. The number of lawsuits is expected to climb. In fact, as of late August, the number of COVID-19-related cases filed in Florida jumped by 358.
Beasley Allen lawyers are actively investigating and filing claims against various insurance companies for denial of business interruption coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are involved in advocating for consolidation of these actions in multidistrict litigation (MDL). Dee Miles, head of our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, Rachel Boyd, and Paul Evans, lawyers in the Section, are spearheading this litigation for our firm and are monitoring all MDL developments as they arise. Please contact them if you have any questions or would like to discuss potential claims.