<p style="text-align: justify;">Pittsburgh Restaurant Owner Jospeh Tambellini filed a petition for direct review from PA’s high court asking the Court to exercise its exceptional King’s Bench Powers to mandate that Erie Insurance cover its pandemic-related closures through its business interruption insurance in its all risks policy. Moreover, Tambellini further asked for the Court to consolidate all insurance coverage disputes regarding COVID-19 into a single action, similar to federal multidistrict litigation.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Tembellini argued “[t]he instant action presents issues of immediate public importance to not only plaintiff, Tambellini, but to all citizens of the commonwealth who are seeking recompense from their insurers for the losses, damages and expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the related governmental orders.” Tembellini further stated that he expects hundreds or thousands of similar petitions. However, this specific insurance coverage dispute involves the lack of the standard virus exclusion in its “all risks” policy, so it seems likely that the plaintiff’s bar has chosen a “test case” and is now attempting to turn a proverbial single into a home run.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Although many other arguments were presented to the Court, the takeaway – at least in Pennsylvania – is this: many insureds are feeling the economic sting from the mandated closures and are asking the Court to get in front of a potential logjam of cases. A ruling is not expected for a number of weeks. We will keep you posted as events continue to progress.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Matt Care for his contribution to this post. If you have any questions or comments, please contact <a href="mailto:email@example.com">Colleen Hayes.</a></p>
Editors Note: The petition has just been <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/52WM2020-104424658100654971.pdf" title="denied">denied</a> by the PA Supreme Court.