Famed Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse filed a lawsuit Tuesday against its insurance company, AMCO, for denying coverage for losses resulting from the government-mandated shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Owner and founder Alice Waters said in a statement that “Chez Panisse spent years paying hefty premiums for business interruption insurance and AMCO has an obligation to help provide economic relief to my team and restore the wide-ranging supply chain of small farms and businesses that Chez Panisse relies on to provide fresh and local cuisine.”
Business interruption insurance typically helps protect against lost income after a covered peril, and this is not the first lawsuit of its kind during COVID-19. Tuesday’s news comes on the heels of similar individual and class-action lawsuits being filed by restaurant owners around the country, including Napa’s Thomas Keller, following broad denials by insurance companies with little or no investigation into the specific needs of the restaurants.
Chez Panisse is being represented in the suit by two firms — California-based Gibbs Law Group and Washington, D.C.-based Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC — and both are reviewing potential claims on behalf of other Bay Area restaurants and small business owners, including Albany’s The Ivy Room, San Francisco’s Mudpie and Berkeley’s The Gardener, who have been affected by similar insurance company denials.
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