Insurance Company Won’t Need to Reimburse Portland Venues for Pandemic Losses, Judge Rules

It’s a common result among the 1,400 similar lawsuits filed across the country.

A federal judge has ruled that three Portland venues are on the hook for financial losses due to the pandemic.

The owners of Revolution Hall, RingSide Steakhouse and Mississippi Studios sued their insurance company after it rejected their claims for reimbursement in May 2020. All together, they sought to recoup over $1 million in losses from the Ohio-based Cincinnati Insurance Company.

“The properties have remained physically intact and undamaged. The only losses are economic—a temporary loss of use. The policies, by their own terms, cover only direct physical loss or damage,” U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon wrote in a Monday ruling, first reported by Law360.

“No comment,” said Seth Row, a partner at the law firm Miller Nash, which filed the September 2020 lawsuits.

The case is one of 1,400 similar lawsuits filed across the country. In nearly all of the cases resolved so far, insurance companies have won.

The city of Portland inserted itself into the cases with a brief filed in March 2021, which argued the insurance company’s refusal to honor the claims would have sweeping financial impacts.

“Widespread insurance-coverage denial will pile on substantial—but avoidable—uncertainty,” wrote assistant deputy city attorney YoungWoo Joh. He noted that Portland “relies heavily” on licensing fees to fund city services.

“The Cincinnati insurers could have excluded virus- or pandemic-based claims from coverage if they wished to do so,” he wrote. “They did not.”