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Insurer wins two more COVID business interruption rulings


Two federal appeals courts have again ruled that policyholders are not entitled to COVID-19-related business interruption coverage, in lawsuits filed against Cincinnati Insurance Co.

Thursday’s ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in Rye Ridge Corp. v. Cincinnati Insurance Co. is the second ruling by the appeals court on the issue.

The ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in Ryan P. Estes., D.M.D., M.S., P.S.C. v. Cincinnati Insurance Co. is that circuit’s fifth such ruling.

The New York case was filed by delicatessens in Rye Brook, New York, and Stamford, Connecticut. In its brief ruling, the court referred to its Dec. 27 ruling in 10012 Holdings, Inc. v. Sentinel Insurance Co. in which it said the art gallery plaintiff had not suffered the physical damage required for coverage.

“Here, as in 10012 Holdings, the Delis do not allege any physical damage to their insured premises, and the relevant terms of their insurance policy with Cincinnati are not materially different from those at issue in the 10012 Holdings,” a three-judge panel said, in affirming a lower court ruling by the U.S. District Court in New York.

In the 6th Circuit case, which was filed by a dentist who operates two Kentucky dental offices in Florence and Fort Thomas, a three-judge panel also based its opinion on the issue of physical loss.

The “average person would not say that Estes suffered a ‘physical loss’ of its dental offices when describing the harms that befell it in this case. COVID-19 did not destroy its dental offices, and the government shutdown orders did not dispossess it of them for a single day,” a three-judge panel said, citing its earlier ruling in Santo’s Italian Café LLC v. Acuity Insurance Co. and affirming a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Covington, Kentucky.

Attorneys in both cases did not respond to requests for comment.





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