National Business Interruption Claims
The Hellenic News of America had the pleasure of interviewing Attorney Peter Palivos, who lives in Las Vegas and is considered one of the top attorneys in the country. Mr. Palivos is currently involved with some of the top cases in the country, including the four Trillion lawsuit that was recently filed in Las Vegas against the People’s Republic of China connected to COVID-19 damages sustained by 32 million US Small Businesses, the State of Nevada’s opioid case against 40 different opioid pharmaceutical companies, the lawsuit against Facebook for using exaggerated metrics with its customers, and the recent plane crash cases involving the Boeing MAX in Ethiopia. Mr. Palivos is also an active member of Leadership 100, the co-owner of the OFI F.C. in Iraklion, Crete, Greece and supports numerous philanthropic organizations throughout the United States. Our below interview primarily focused on the current business interruption damages being sustained by thousands of Greek-American restaurants and businesses all over the country.
Q: How are things in Las Vegas, Nevada?
A: The weather is good, but the economy is in terrible shape because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused catastrophic damages to our city, state, and country.
Q: You and attorney Robert Eglet, who has been voted twice the top trial attorney in the country, recently filed a lawsuit against the People’s Republic of China regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Please tell us about that case.
A: We currently represent 32 million US Small Businesses, in a class-action lawsuit that was filed on March 23, 2020, against the Peoples Republic of China and several other Chinese defendants. We have evidence showing that the Chinese Government was involved in very dangerous experimentation involving bat to human cell transmissions. This dangerous experimentation was occurring at the Wuhan Virology Laboratory, which is only one of only three laboratories in the world that deal with high-risk coronavirus experimentation. The Wuhan Virology Laboratory was using poor quality controls. In fact, the US State Department had warned China about this poor quality control in 2018. Despite these warnings, China took no precautions. As a result, around November 17, 2019 COVID-19 probably leaked into the general population of Wuhan, China. After this accident occurred, COVID-19 has gone on to cause unprecedented infection and catastrophe, in the United States and all over the world. Our evidence will show that the People’s Republic of China is responsible for the deaths and financial damages that have resulted in our country.
Q. We are aware that you and several other top attorneys are also handling hundreds of cases based on business interruption insurance. Please tell us what business interruption insurance is and how it works?
A: Almost all businesses in the United States have insurance which covers their business and operations. Most of these insurance policies also contain language which insures against business interruption. This business interruption insurance coverage typically arises if there is damage to a business because of fire, flood, or government action which interrupts the business.
Q: How is the COVID-19 pandemic connected to business interruption insurance?
A: Millions of businesses in the United States, which have business interruption insurance coverage, had there businesses interrupted when their businesses were ordered closed by different mayors, county commissioners, and governors all over the United States. When these orders were issued, business owners had to comply. They had no choice. Therefore, when they complied with these government orders, their businesses either completely closed or substantially reduced their business operations. Following these forced closures or reduced operations, these businesses sustaining business losses, which should be covered by their insurance companies.
Q: When did these business interruption cases arise?
A: On the day that owners were ordered to close their business or to reduce their business operations.
Q: After these businesses were ordered closed, what do they have to do in order to preserve their rights?
A: They have to notify their insurance agent in writing that they are making a “business interruption claim because of the pandemic and the government’s order”.
Q: What happens if a business owner does not place their insurance agent on notice that they are making an insurance claim for business interruption?
A: In most states, they, unfortunately, lose their right to make such a claim.
Q: What happens after this notice is given by the insured to their insurance agent and the insurance company?
A: We have clients that have paid huge insurance premiums for 20- 30 years, and they never made a claim. And now, that they are making valid claims because their businesses were interrupted by governmental orders, which forced the closure of their business operations, their insurance companies are refusing to cover the sustained losses. This is not normal. This is not fair. This is not legal!
Q: Why are these insurance companies refusing to cover these business interruption losses?
A: They are coming up with all kinds of baseless reasons and excuses. The bottom line is that insurance companies have made the decision not to pay these credible claims because they are hoping that businesses will not pursue their claims after they receive a denial of coverage letter. I think that this a calculated business decision centered on purely business reasons and the maximization of profits. As a result, there is no fairness shown to these small businesses, which were ordered shut and had their businesses interrupted, without them doing anything wrong. Just to show you how unfair the insurance companies are being, they are still collecting insurance premiums from these closed businesses, for insurance coverage that they are refusing to cover. What is wrong with this picture?
Q: How can these insurance companies refuse to pay all of these business interruption claims?
A: They try to find and use some phrase or word in an insurance policy, and then claim that this specific phrase or word allows them to avoid payment of the claim.
Q: What happens after an insurance company denies coverage for a business interruption claim?
A: Our national legal team, which is headed by Attorney Tony Romanucci, who is an expert with insurance coverage issues, and is also the President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, are filing lawsuits against these unreasonable insurance companies all over the United States.
Q: How is your national team being paid on these cases?
A: We are working only on a contingency fee arrangement, which means our team only gets paid if we successfully resolve the case or win the case in court. Otherwise, our team does not get paid.
Q: If a business had their business interruption case denied, what does it have to lose by retaining your national team of attorneys?
A: Nothing because their claims have already been denied. So, these businesses should pursue their legal rights.
Q: Of the hundreds of cases you are handling, what percentage involves restaurants?
A: A majority of the cases involve restaurants. This really bothers me because I have many family members who own restaurants, and these are some most decent and hard-working people in America. These restaurants also provide a great service to society and our country. So, I get very upset when I see how disrespectful these insurance companies are being to these good people. I get even more upset because most of these restaurant owners are fellow Greek-Americans.
Q: If any business wants to pursue their business interruption case how can they contact you?
A: They can email me to [email protected]