As part of their continuing series of conversations on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the restaurant industry, Heritage Radio Network’s weekly food news podcast “Snacky Tunes” spoke with award-winning chef/owner of Portland’s Beast and Expatriate Naomi Pomeroy and national plaintiffs’ lawyer and Lieff Cabraser partner Robert J. Nelson. Together, the two are helping lead the charge on #JUSTICEFORRESTAURANTS, a series of lawsuits filed against insurers that are denying restaurants’ insurance claims for interrupted business relief related to the shelter in place orders associated with the Coronavirus pandemic.

In May of 2020, Lieff Cabraser and Co-Counsel filed a nationwide federal class action breach of contract lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon against Berkley North Pacific Group, Berkley Insurance Company, W.R. Berkley Corporation, and Continental Western Insurance Company on behalf of Naomi Pomeroy’s celebrated restaurant Beast and all similarly-situated restaurants with business interruption insurance from the defendant insurers. The complaint alleges that after Pomeroy’s Beast restaurant suffered catastrophic financial losses in the wake of government-ordered shutdowns, the restaurant’s business interruption policy claims were wrongly denied coverage by Berkley North Pacific Group and the related insurers. The lawsuit was filed on the heels of earlier restaurant business interruption insurance claim denial lawsuits filed by Lieff Cabraser on behalf of Daniel Patterson and his restaurants Coi and Alta, and on behalf of Pim Techamuanvivit and her San Francisco restaurants Kin Khao and Nari, as well as other restaurants and restaurateurs. Additional lawsuits are expected to follow, and the various lawsuits may well be coordinated by the federal courts into a single multidistrict litigation involving a wide range of restaurants and insurers.

According to Nelson, who represents the plaintiffs’ in Pomeroy’s Beast suit as well as the other listed suits, at present insurance carriers appear to have decided to deny all restaurant business interruption insurance claims across the board, irrespective of the kind of policy any business had. This act, Nelson explains is “forcing businesses to go to the mat… that is, litigation, where the decisions will ultimately be made by a judge.” As Nelson notes, “These restaurants aren’t looking for a handout. They are just entitled to get what is rightfully theirs.”

Listen to the full discussion on the Heritage Radio Network website.

Contact a Business Interruption Insurance Denial Attorney

While some insurers are showing extraordinary compassion and flexibility in responding to virus related claims, other insurers are refusing to pay business interruption claims despite restaurants having faithfully paid costly premiums for decades. We think this is wrong, an atrocity that threatens to decimate America’s most beloved restaurants.

If your restaurant’s business interruption insurance claims have been denied after the government-ordered shutdown of all or part of your business, then contact a Business Interruption Insurance Denial attorney at Lieff Cabraser today using the form on this page to start the conversation and learn how you can get justice and recover for your losses.

About Robert Nelson

A partner in Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office and the Chair of the firm’s False Claims Act practice group, Robert has played a leading role in Lieff Cabraser’s qui tam, automotive, aviation, mass tort, tobacco, and consumer fraud cases. He has served as court-appointed Lead or Co-Lead Counsel in numerous state and federal coordinated proceedings and over 35 class actions. Robert was lead trial counsel in a product defect case against Chrysler that resulted in a substantial punitive damage verdict, for which he was a recipient of California Lawyer Magazine’s Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award. He later received a second CLAY award for his work as lead trial counsel in obtaining a substantial settlement against the University of Phoenix, one of the largest ever achieved involving fraud against the Department of Education under the False Claims Act. Robert is a four-time nominee for CAOC Consumer Attorney of the Year.  In 2019, Robert was named Public Justice’s Trial Lawyer of the Year for his work on the State Farm insurance fraud RICO litigation.

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