A Texas jury has found that the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the property of Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) caused “physical loss or damage” and resulting economic loss, triggering coverage under BCM’s commercial property insurance program. The jury awarded BCM over $48 million following a three-day trial; the award consisted of $42.8 million in business interruption, $3.3 million in extra expense, and $2.3 million in damage to research projects.
The verdict came after the court denied the insurers’ pre-trial motion for summary judgment, rejecting the insurers’ contention that a virus cannot—as a matter of law—cause physical loss or damage to property. In denying the motion, the court held that whether the presence of the virus causes physical loss or damage presents a question of fact for the jury to resolve; a copy of the order rejecting the insurers’ summary judgment argument can be found here.
Reprinted courtesy of Michael S. Levine, Hunton Andrews Kurth and Kevin V. Small, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Small may be contacted at ksmall@HuntonAK.com