Callahan & Blaine Attorney, Sharon Yuen, scored an impressive victory for her client, Boffo Cinemas LLC against Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in Friday’s ruling which allows the California movie theater and restaurant chain to amend its suit that seeks coverage for the over $30 million it lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The California Court of Appeals found that certain provisions in its policy do not require direct physical loss or damage to trigger coverage, and the trial court erred in dismissing the Complaint without granting leave to amend.
A unanimous three-judge panel agreed that the appeals court’s prior decision in Inns-by-the-Sea v. California Mutual Insurance Co. already precluded Boffo Cinemas LLC’s claim for business interruption coverage caused by government shutdown orders, even if COVID-19 was present at its locations. However, the lower court should have still allowed Boffo to amend its suit against Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. to fully assert claims under its property policy’s separate crisis management and event cancellation provisions, Justice Terry B. O’Rourke wrote for the panel.
This ruling marks a major development in insurance coverage law for COVID-19 lawsuits as nearly every COVID-19 lawsuit in the United States against insurance companies have been unsuccessful at the dismissal phase on appeal.
Callahan & Blaine senior trial attorney, Sharon Yuen handled all of the briefing in the Court of Appeal.
“This was a great result for the client, as the trial court was too quick to dismiss the lawsuit without considering all available coverages under the policy for the COVID-19 related closures for our client,” Yuen stated regarding the case.
If you have questions about a potential complex business litigation case contact Sharon Yuen for assistance.