July 31, 2020

The group is among several other D.C. spots filing suits against their providers.

Chef José Andrés' restaurant group is suing its insurance carrier saying that it was wrongfully denied coverage under business interruptions insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple outlets are reporting.

ThinkFoodGroup, led by Andrés, filed a lawsuit against Travelers Insurance this week in U.S. District Court of Southern Maryland. According to the suit, "TFG believed that it had purchased comprehensive coverage that would apply to business interruptions under circumstances like this," seemingly referring to government enforced closures amid COVID-19, and says that the insurance company "swiftly denied the claim" based on an "unreasonable reading of its policy."

“For over 22 years, our company has consistently paid considerable annual premiums for business interruption insurance from Travelers and now is the time for them to fulfill their obligation,” Andrés said in a statement obtained by Washington Business Journal: “Given that we were forced to close and the pandemic's effects on our industry, our businesses, our team, and the local farmers and producers who rely on our restaurants, Travelers has a financial responsibility to all of us as we rebuild.”

TFG named 17 of its restaurants in the suit that it says are covered under such a policy, such as multiple Jaleo locations, Oyamel, Zaytina, and multiple Beefsteak locations. In addition, Central Michel Richard, the award-winning restaurant named for late chef Michel Richard, filed a similar lawsuit against the insurance company this week, according to WBJ.

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As Eater reported, restaurants have steadily been filing similar suits against their insurance providers amid COVID-19 including Proper 21, which was reportedly the first D.C. restaurant to file such a lawsuit, and GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar, which, like TFG and Central Michel Richard, is being represented by firms Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Gibbs Law Group, according to WBJ. These firms are also representing FT Group and RW Restaurant Group in similar suits.

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