What To Know As Vermont Justices Hear Virus Coverage Row

Law360
01/24/2022

The Vermont Supreme Court on Wednesday will become the second state high court to address a COVID-19 coverage suit, as the country's largest military shipbuilder tries to convince the justices why a group of reinsurers should cover losses to its operations during the pandemic.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was the first to hear a pandemic-era business interruption suit at the state high court level, with those justices hinting this month that the large volume of rulings in favor of insurers had them leaning toward a ruling against policyholders. And after Vermont, the next high-profile suit will go before the Ohio Supreme Court.

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Nonprofit trade group United Policyholders "is looking forward" to the argument before the Vermont Supreme Court, said Marshall Gilinsky of Anderson Kill PC, who filed an amicus brief for the group.

Gilinsky said United Policyholders is confident that the justices will conclude that the presence of the coronavirus at a property satisfies the physical loss or damage requirement as "it turns property that is safe and usable into property that is unsafe and possibly even deadly."

"Huntington Ingalls lost millions of dollars adapting its property and operations to make them safe and usable due to the loss and damage from SARS-CoV-2 — those losses are what business interruption insurance is for," Gilinsky said in a statement to Law360.

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