In what could be Chicago’s first major lawsuit over business interruption insurance related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, six Chicago bar and restaurant groups have filed suit in federal court against their insurance company, Society Insurance, accusing the firm of failing to “to honor its obligations,” alleging the company is wrongfully denying payouts because restaurants and bars didn’t suffer properly damage or loss during the pandemic.
Plaintiffs include the owners of Headquarters Beercade and Machine; Big Onion Tavern Group (Fatpour Tapworks, Woodies’s Flat); Happy Camper, Homeslice, and Paradise Park; and the Vig, the Whale and Welcome Back Lounge. Other plaintiffs include the owners of McBride’s Pubs in suburban Joliet and Plainfield, plus the owners of Harper Theater in Hyde Park and the New 400 Theater in Rogers Park. They alleged Society Insurance wrongfully denied their claims related to the government’s shut down of bars and dine-in business for restaurants.
Business interruption insurance coverage has been a hot topic throughout the novel coronavirus crisis. This type of insurance covers clients with cash payouts when events like natural disasters force businesses to close. The chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller filed his own suit last week in which the French Laundry chef accused his insurance company of using a loophole to deny a payout. A New Orleans restaurant off Bourbon Street also filed a similar lawsuit.