1 S.A.N.T. Inc. v. National Fire
The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed the complaint of a proposed class action suit brought by restaurants forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic against insurer National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. The court found that the restaurant group, 1 S.A.N.T., had not sustained the requisite direct or physical loss needed to trigger coverage, as they were able to remain open in the limited capacity of offering carry out services during the pandemic, and therefore did not completely lose access to the premises. Though the court recognized that the government mandated limitation on indoor dining certainly caused a “diminution of [the restaurant’s] economic value,” it ultimately concluded that this was did not qualify as an actual impact to the property’s structure, which the reasonable interpretation of the policy language requires. The restaurant group also argued that the policy’s “Civil Authority” provision should be implicated here, but again the court pointed to the fact that the eateries were able to remain partially open, thereby defeating this argument as well.