Chicago restaurants and bars pursue COVID claims against Wisconsin insurer

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“The decision of the 7th Circuit. . . should have no impact on this (case), which involves a different insurance policy, different political language, different facts, the laws of different states and a completely different procedural posture, ”according to the brief. “Further, it bears repeating that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the complainants’ businesses, and the company has denied their bad faith claims (as confirmed by the limited discovery the company has provided to date). Because time is running out, the Applicants respectfully renew their request. . . to confirm a timeline to try indicator cases in the first half of 2022 to ensure that plaintiffs the company abused at the start of the pandemic can appear in court. “

Lawyers for the restaurant’s plaintiffs – which in addition to the Billy Goat include Chicago’s Big Onion Tavern group and the Purple Pig restaurant – said in their brief that “the company has consistently hampered the plaintiffs’ efforts to seek the truth.” ‘not identifying cookies. which might explain, for example, why the Company, unlike most insurers, has not expressly excluded viral contamination from coverage in its policies.

Asked to comment, a spokesperson for the Company responded by email that the insurer “does not comment on pending litigation. We look forward to a favorable resolution of this situation. “

In its own December 20 submission, the company claimed the 7th Circuit rulings should result in all claims against it being dismissed.

“The decisions of the 7th Circuit are binding on this Court, and” district judges are to follow the decisions of the (7th Circuit) whether they agree or not “, including on questions of the law of the State, ”stated the company’s brief.

Another key element in the restaurant’s plaintiffs’ arguments is that they believe the 7th Circuit ignored a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision in which it reaffirmed that ambiguous parts of a insurance contract should be interpreted in favor of the policyholder. Despite the fact that the case is in federal court, state law governs insurance contracts, and the federal appellate judges have admitted that their job is to adjudicate in accordance with the precedents of the Supreme Court of the Illinois.

“Rather than following Illinois building rules, (7th Circuit) interpreted” textual clues “in favor of the insurer and determined that the terms of the policy” are read in the most reasonable manner “in accordance with the competing interpretation advanced by the insurer,” said the plaintiffs’ brief. declared. “This is an obvious error of law that goes directly against the directive of the Supreme Court of Illinois (which the (7th Circuit) has recognized will have the final say on this issue) that “where there are competing reasonable interpretations of a policy, a court is not permitted to choose the interpretation it will follow.” “

Chang will now have to decide whether the 54 cases against the company will move forward in light of the federal decision.

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