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Texas Attorneys Secure Dismissal of COVID-19 Business Interruption

Texas attorneys Martin R. Sadler, E.R. Hamilton and S. Jan Hueber recently prevailed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, on behalf of an insurance company client.

Plaintiff, a gift shop supply company, alleged ongoing and recurring COVID-19 contamination in its gift shop customers’ properties throughout 2020, resulting in business interruption. Plaintiff alleged that COVID-19 was present because many of the properties are located in hospitals where coronavirus patients are treated. Plaintiff also outlined details of the chemical and ionic bonding properties of the virus as the basis for establishing physical alteration of the property. Plaintiff alleged damages totaling more than $24,000,000.

Plaintiff’s arguments were deemed “insufficient to plausibly allege that the virus caused direct physical damage to property.” Arguments that the virus was present at the retail sites were not sufficient to establish that Plaintiff’s customers’ properties were “tangibly altered” by the virus and the lawsuit against the insured was dismissed.

Marty focuses his practice on first-party property insurance coverage, bad faith claim litigation and catastrophe litigation including commercial and residential hurricane, wind and hail losses. His experience includes representing insurance clients across a broad range of complex loss scenarios. Marty has additional experience defending non-insurance clients in directional drilling contract disputes, products liability litigation, personal injury and wrongful death claims.

E.R. focuses his practice on a wide variety of insurance-related matters. His experience includes litigating insurance coverage disputes such as preparing coverage opinions, seeking declaratory judgments in personal injury and contract matters, and filing summary judgments based on policy exclusions.

Jan represents entities involved in all aspects of commercial and corporate litigation. She actively defends commercial business, toxic tort, construction defect, premises and products liability cases, as well as medical malpractice, trucking and transportation claims in both federal and state courts. Jan also represents employers in employment litigation claims.