Taft Food & Beverage group attorneys are representing 15 of Chicago's most notable restaurants and bars in a class-action complaint against Society Insurance. The group of restaurants includes Parson’s Chicken & Fish (both the Logan Square and Lincoln Park locations), Longman & Eagle, Chicago’s first Asian brewpub—Bixi Beer, and the 2018 Spirited Awards Best American Cocktail Bar winner, Lost Lake. Taft Food & Beverage Practice Group Chair Patrick Wartan and Taft partner William Wagner along with Edelman Combs Latturner & Goodwin, LLC have filed the complaint on behalf of the restaurants as a result of business interruption insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the Illinois Executive Order on March 20, 2020—which closed all “non-essential” businesses (including restaurants and bars) and resulted in the halt in operations and the furloughs and layoffs of many restaurant employees—Society Insurance contends that the closure orders do not constitute “direct physical loss.” For more information, view the Eater Chicago article found here. To learn the latest updates about the impact of COVID-19 on the food and beverage industry, click here.
Wartan is a partner at Taft and chair of Taft’s Food and Beverage team. He counsels multi-unit restaurant, hotel developers and food and beverage consumer brand companies on day-to-day legal needs. Additionally, he brings extensive experience to matters relating to financing arrangements, food and liquor licensing, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and general corporate governance in jurisdictions from coast to coast.
Wagner is a partner in Taft’s Litigation group and Insurance Coverage and Recovery group. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including insurance recovery and environmental litigation.