Baylis’ Big Onion group has joined 13 other owners of eateries and movie theaters in the Chicago area in a federal lawsuit against Society Insurance, filed in March in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois—part of a national wave of litigation arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
The suit says the businesses in the Big Onion case expect to lose more than $10 million before the statewide shutdown ends. They are seeking a declaratory judgment that would speed payment of their insurance claims, as well as damages for breach of contract and bad faith in claims handling.
Viruses or viral pandemics are not mentioned in the disputed policies as being excluded from coverage, so the Big Onion lawyers argue they should be covered under the “all-risk” policies. They say each insurance company determines the language of its policies, and if they didn’t want to pay out for a pandemic, they should have written that in.