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“Pennsylvania Supreme Court Hands Insurers ‘Small Victory’ on COVID-19 Litigation”—Sean P. Hvisdas in Claims Journal


“Pennsylvania Supreme Court Hands Insurers ‘Small Victory’ on COVID-19 Litigation”—Sean P. Hvisdas in Claims Journal

May 18, 2020
Sean P. Hvisdas

“In a small victory for insurers,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on May 14 denied an application from plaintiff Joseph Tambellini (a restaurant) that asked the court to exercise jurisdiction over all COVID-19-related insurance coverage litigation in the state, Goldberg Segalla’s Sean P. Hvisdas, a member of the Global Insurance Services practice based in Philadelphia, wrote in Claims Journal.

Tambellini filed a lawsuit against its insurer, Erie Insurance Exchange, in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, seeking coverage under its commercial property policy for business income losses allegedly due to mandatory restrictions related to COVID-19. Tambellini shortly thereafter filed an Application for Extraordinary Relief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that asked the court to exercise its King’s Bench authority and the Court’s Extraordinary Jurisdiction powers to assume jurisdiction of the litigation. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the application without opinion.

“The decision represents a small procedural victory for Pennsylvania-based insurers, by affording them the opportunity to have disputes over coverage litigated on a case-by-case, policy-by-policy basis in the normal manner in which such matters are litigated before state trial courts,” Sean explained. “The larger test will come in individual cases, where policy language will be measured against the facts of each case.”

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Goldberg Segalla is one of the premier law firms advising and representing the global insurance and reinsurance industry. Our 75-lawyer Global Insurance Services practice, which Law360 ranks among the largest in the United States, exists to serve insurers, reinsurers, and all others operating in the insurance arena.

The firm’s Coronavirus Coverage Team serves multiple leading insurers on national and regional coronavirus coverage panels, and provides ongoing counsel to national and international insurers regarding the latest developments in coronavirus-related legislation and regulation as well as trends in claims and litigation.