Over a thousand pubs are reportedly interested in a test case about whether FBD Insurance should pay for losses that pubs have experienced due to COVID-19-related closures.
Four cases involving FBD have been entered into the Commercial Court by the operators of Sinnotts and the Leopardstown Inn, both of which are located in Dublin, Sean's Bar of Athlone, and the Lemon & Duke of Dublin, and other publicans with similar insurance cover are waiting to find out the outcome.
A hearing involving the first three cases has been listed for October 6 and is expected to last for up to 12 days.
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According to The Irish Times, Paul Gallagher SC for FBD said that there is a public interest in an early hearing because more than a thousand pubs are affected and the hearing will be a "test case" that will be of "great significance" for all of the interested parties.
Meanwhile, Michael Cush SC, for all of the applicants apart from Sean's Bar, said that the pubs have insurance in place that raises the issue of losses that have resulted from COVID-19 closures and, if such losses are covered, the principles that arise for calculating the damages that are due for recovery.
The Lemon & Duke case has been adjourned for two weeks as mediation talks continue, and it will be added to the October hearing if it is not resolved.
Issues To Be Determined
Gallagher stated that the issues that are to be determined are ones of interpretation and include whether there was "an insured peril", "causation issues" and the extent of any indemnity.
Gallagher also said that the issue of what amount might be involved in damages can be left for a later hearing, and that in this way, a decision about liability can be appealed before a "quantum" is determined. Gallagher believes that this approach is the most efficient use of court time.
Justice David Barniville said that he is satisfied that the cases qualify for entry to the list.
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