BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Federal judge asks Ohio Supreme Court for COVID-19 ruling

Ohio Supreme Court

A federal district court judge is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to rule whether COVID-19’s presence can be considered an insured direct physical loss or damage to property under state law.

Judge Benita Y. Pearson, of U.S. District Court in Youngstown, asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule on the issue in connection with a COVID-19 business interruption suit filed by an audiology company, Boardman, Ohio-based Neuro-Communication Services Inc., against its insurer, The Cincinnati Insurance Co. The case is Neuro-Communication Services Inc.,  etc. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co.; The Cincinnati Casualty Co.; and The Cincinnati Indemnity Co.

Neuro-Communication, which had purchased an all-risk policy from Cincinnati, submitted a business interruption claim in March, which the insurer denied on the basis that it did not involve a direct physical loss to the property.

“Dozens, if not hundreds, of cases seeking coverage for losses related to the pandemic under policies similar or identical to that at issue in this case have been filed in both federal and state courts in Ohio,” Judge Pearson said in the certification order filed with the state Supreme Court.

“As these cases wend through the various court systems, differing interpretations of Ohio contract law by different courts threaten to undermine the uniform application of that law to similarly situated litigants,” the order said.

“The certification procedure invoked here will allow the Supreme Court of Ohio to decide these questions and bring uniformity to the application of state law to these policies,” it said.

Cincinnati said in a statement, “We appreciate the Court’s decision to grant our motion to certify questions to the Ohio Supreme Court. We look forward to the opportunity to explain to the state Supreme Court why we believe resolving these questions of law as soon as possible will increase efficiency in the judicial process and benefit all parties involved.”

Plaintiff attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

 The order was issued the same day a federal district court in Cleveland refused to dismiss COVID-19 business interruption coverage litigation filed by a restaurant chain against a Zurich Insurance Group unit, holding its policy language was ambiguous and a “microorganism” exclusion inapplicable.




Read Next