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Courts siding with insurance firms over business interruption claims | Business

A growing number of U.S. courts are ruling against employers who’ve filed insurance claims for business interruption coverage stemming from government-ordered coronavirus shutdowns.

The Insurance Information Institute reports insurers have won more than a dozen cases since May, with judges ruling that the policies only kick in if a property sustains physical damage. The business owners had argued that the coverage should have started when local or state governments issued stay-at-home orders that hampered their ability to operate.

A couple of Charleston-area cases are still pending in federal court. Black Magic Cafe says its losses started on March 17, when Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a temporary halt to dine-in services at South Carolina restaurants.

The historic Calhoun Mansion at 10 Meeting St., now known as The Williams Mansion, sued its insurer after a McMaster executive order shut down museums.



Charleston cafe takes on insurance firm in fight over coronavirus claims

A bill that would have required insurance carriers to cover coronavirus-related business losses — co-sponsored by Sen. Sandy Senn, a Charleston Republican, and Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a Charleston Democrat — was introduced in the S.C. Statehouse in April but went nowhere.

Recent court rulings indicate the local cases might be a losing cause.

For example, Judge Thomas Thrash last week dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by restaurant in Georgia, ruling that a government stay-at-home order did not cause the business to sustain direct physical loss of or damage to its insured property or surrounding premises.



Owner of Charleston's historic Calhoun Mansion suing insurer over COVID-19 claims

Similarly, a U.S. District Court judge in Florida last month dismissed a trade show display company’s claims, saying “the plain language of the policies reflect that actual, concrete damage is necessary.”

And in another ruling in California last month, Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo ruled against a pair of barbershops, stating: “Most courts have rejected these claims, finding that the

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Baltimore contractor Holabird agrees to pay $91,000 to resolve claims it bilked the city

Baltimore’s spending panel is scheduled to accept $91,746 to drop claims against an auto repair and maintenance service in Southeast Baltimore that allegedly submitted inflated bills to the city for payment.

Holabird Enterprises of Maryland Inc. has agreed to repay the money and accept the return of five unused snowplows. In exchange, the city and company will drop lawsuits against each other, according to a Board of Estimates agenda.

The board is scheduled to consider Wednesday the settlement offer from Holabird and its principals, Lawrence Ward and Daniel Foy. The agreement would also bar the company from any city contract for five years.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Ward declined to comment.

The claims against Holabird surfaced last July in a report by the Baltimore Inspector General, who found the Fleet Management Division of the Department of General Services mismanaged contracts and overpaid for services. Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming said Holabird overcharged for snowplows and service work to city vehicles.

Cumming issued a second report two months later that found another company, Baltimore’s primary tow operator, was also overcharging the city. She wrote that city employees had rubber-stamped the inflated bills for years.

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Gov. Cuomo falsely claims New York nursing homes ‘never needed’ to take in Covid-positive patients

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued that nursing homes “never needed” to accept Covid-positive patients from hospitals in the state.



Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie: NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)


© Jeenah Moon/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. The Governor said the state liquor authority has suspended 27 bar and restaurant alcohol licenses for violations of social distancing rules as public officials try to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

During a press call Wednesday, Finger Lakes News Radio asked Cuomo about his administration’s advisory in late March requiring that nursing homes accept the readmission of patients from hospitals, even if they were positive for Covid-19.

Cuomo argued that the advisory was a precaution if hospitals became overwhelmed — calling it an “anticipatory rule” — which he said didn’t happen.

“We never needed nursing home beds because we always had hospital beds,” Cuomo told Finger Lakes News. “So it just never happened in New York where we needed to say to a nursing home, ‘We need you to take this person even though they’re Covid-positive.’ It never happened.”

Facts First: Cuomo’s assertion that “it never happened” is false. According to a report from the New York State Department of Health, “6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to [nursing home] facilities” following Cuomo’s mandate that nursing homes accept the readmission of Covid-positive patients from hospitals. Whether or not this was “needed,” it did in fact happen.

On March 25, the state’s Health Department issued an advisory requiring nursing homes to accept “the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals” if the patients were deemed medically stable.

“No resident shall be

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Fire claims collector cars and couple’s recently remodeled home

ST. HELENA — Madeline Buty and Jason Curliano had just put the final touches on their retirement home on a hill overlooking the vineyards of Napa Valley. They hung the last picture on the wall Saturday.

The couple, from Piedmont, had spent three years remodeling the home, a striking modern build with large windows and a wrap-around deck, along Silverado Trail, a few miles from downtown St. Helena.

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Less than 48 hours later, it was a smoldering pile of ashes after the Glass Fire tore through the area.

“We just put so much love and energy into that place,” Buty said Monday, as she sobbed after seeing a video of the ruins. “We spent a lot of years looking for a place. It was the perfect house for us.”

Their home was one of dozens destroyed as the fire scorched Deer Creek, Angwin and parts of St. Helena. The Glass Fire has burned more than 42,000 acres, destroying at least 80 structures including several wineries.

Buty and Curliano, both in their 50s, bought the home

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