G J Moloney LLP issued High Court proceedings on behalf of the Lemon & Duke pub in Dublin following FBD’s refusal to cover the pub under its business interruption policy. The policy concerned states that cover will be provided in the event of a forced closure where there is an outbreak of contagious or infectious disease on the premises or within 25 miles.

There are in the region of a thousand other publicans in Ireland who have similar cover in place for their businesses and who have also been refused cover by their insurers. It is an extremely distressing time for publicans, who are faced with ongoing overheads such as rents and rates and have no cash flow coming in. in addition to this, publicans do not know when they will be allowed to re-open and what restrictions will be imposed upon them when they do. There will necessarily be considerable expenditure in fitting out the pubs to meet Government and HSE requirements and also in training staff in this regard.

The proceedings were issued following FBD’s confirmation that it would not be indemnifying the Lemon & Duke bar for business interruption insurance, despite the fact that the policy was specifically taken out to cover this very circumstance. A number of other publicans subsequently issued proceedings and on Monday 25 May 2020, Mr Justice Barniville accepted the proceedings into the Commercial List of the High Court on the basis that they concerned very significant commercial issues.

The proceedings, along with three other sets of proceedings, will act as ‘pathfinder’ cases in that the Court will determine the correct interpretation of FBD’s policy and FBD will be bound by this interpretation with regard to all of its customers who have the same policy. The proceedings are listed for hearing in the Commercial Court for 14 days in October.

If you have a similar type issue, please contact G J Moloney LLP in Cork or Dublin.