July 21, 2020

Popular brand says its claim was denied

OAKLAND — The popular clothing brand known for its Oakland pride apparel, Oaklandish, is suing its insurance provider for denying COVID-19 related coverage.

Oaklandish joins as one of the latest businesses to sue its insurance provider during the pandemic; Chez Panisse of Berkeley similarly sued its provider this month. Oaklandish has at least two retail stores in the city itself, and the brand is sold throughout the Bay Area and online. Its most recognized icon is the city’s official oak tree, depicting the tree’s roots.

Like similar retailers throughout the state, Oaklandish was required to close up shop during the mandated stay-at-home order, which took effect in mid-March. According to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Oaklandish says that facing serious financial hardship, it filed a claim with insurer Sentinel Insurance Company for business interruption coverage. But the claim was promptly denied.

The lawsuit alleges the reasoning for the claim denial was “based on an unreasonable reading of its policy.”

“That leaves Oaklandish in financial straits — precisely the situation it sought to avoid when it obtained coverage for business interruptions,” the lawsuit reads.

Amy Zeman, an attorney with the Gibbs Law Group, of Oakland, who represents Oaklandish along with Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll of Washington, D.C., said the insurance company is doing “blanket denials,” claiming that the coverage doesn’t apply.

The complete story can be accessed here.