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Tue 22nd Nov 2022 - Stonegate, Greggs and Various Eateries confirm intention to appeal in business interruption insurance battle
Stonegate, Greggs and Various Eateries confirm intention to appeal in business interruption battle against insurers: Stonegate, Greggs and Various Eateries have confirmed their intention to appeal last month’s High Court ruling in their covid-19 business interruption (BI) legal battle against their insurers. MS Amlin, Liberty Mutual and Zurich have also said they will appeal selected areas of the ruling, which were handed down in a High Court judgment on 17 October from Justice Christopher Butcher. In a consequentials hearing yesterday (Monday, 21 November), Mr Justice Butcher was presented with fresh arguments from counsel representing the insurers and claimant businesses, and all parties confirmed their intention to appeal various aspects of the earlier judgments. Ben Lynch KC, of Fountain Court Chambers and acting on behalf of Stonegate, said it was important the court granted the pub group’s application for appeal, noting the final judgment is a “matter of huge impact to the market” and “considers points that are applicable much more widely” than in the cases under scrutiny. Representing Various Eateries, Leigh-Ann Mulcahy KC, of Fountain Court Chambers, said the rulings should be appealed to iron-out “inconsistencies” across the various judgments and to finalise the court’s position on “inherently tricky issues” associated with causation and per-premises aggregation. All parties have until mid-January to submit their applications for appeal, and if successful, it is expected a preliminary hearing will head to the Supreme Court in the autumn of 2023. In the case of Stonegate versus MS Amlin and others – the lead action in the three disputes – the key ruling on whether insurers were entitled to credit for furlough payments received by Stonegate came down in favour of the insurers. The dispute also considered whether Stonegate’s losses were limited by the aggregation language in the policy and the extent to which losses were caused by cases of covid-19 and government action. But in a decision that has far-reaching implications for the treatment of aggregate pandemic losses in other cases, Mr Justice Butcher accepted the main points of Greggs’ case. Insurers had initially contended Greggs could only claim for a single occurrence under its policy, which would mean applying a £2.5m limit to all its BI losses caused by lockdowns. Greggs, however, argued it was entitled to access a separate limit of £2.5m each time new covid restrictions affecting its business were adopted.

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