Coffee not covered, high court dismisses Colectivo's COVID-19 loss suit.

AuthorTeske, Ali
PositionColectivo Coffee Roasters

Byline: Ali Teske

Because a Milwaukee-based coffee company and various Wisconsin bars and restaurants could still offer curbside and similar services during pandemic-related shutdowns, they are not entitled to collect lost business income under their insurance policies, according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of Society Insurance Company's request for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Colectivo Coffee Roasters and various bars and restaurants over their insurance coverage for pandemic-related losses. Justice Rebecca Dallet delivered the court's unanimous opinion, finding the plaintiffs had failed to establish a claim for alleged "covered losses."

According to the opinion, because Colectivo and the other plaintiffs had access to their properties and could still operate takeout services throughout the pandemic, they did not suffer the sort of physical loss of a dining space that would trigger coverage under Society's business-income, extra-expense or civil-authority provisions. The court also concluded that the plaintiffs had not "suspended operations due to contamination," only altered them in response to public-health orders.

"As the overwhelming majority of the other courts that have addressed the same issue have concluded, the presence of COVID-19 does not constitute a physical loss of or damage to property because it does not 'alter the appearance, shape, color, structure, or other material dimension of the property,'" Dallet said.

Besides Colectivo, the other plaintiffs in the suit included Tandem Restaurant, Iron Grate BBQ, East Troy Brewery, Company Brewing...

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