A rare victory for a SF restaurant that sued insurance companies after losing millions in the pandemic

John’s Grill, home of San Francisco’s martini lunches and lamb chop dinners, has settled an insurance lawsuit in a very rare victory in the restaurants nationwide quest to have their insurance companies cover business losses incurred during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Joe Cochet, the attorney who represented John Grill, said the damages to the restaurant are “significant.”

Cotchett filed a federal lawsuit against the restaurant’s insurer – Hartford and its subsidiary, Sentinel Insurance Co. – On behalf of John Konstin, owner of John’s Grill, which has been around just off Market Street for 114 years.

The settlement is described as one of the first victories against a major insurance company due to business interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These claims were routinely dismissed in the courts because the losses suffered by the companies were not material. It comes even as both the California Supreme Court and the state’s first district court of appeals have sided with insurers in dismissing pandemic-related claims for loss of business.

Earlier this week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that insurance companies are not liable for claims for loss of business income due to government-ordered shutdowns. The decision stated that the temporary loss of use of the building does not constitute a material loss.

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