COVID-19: Has Your Insurance Company Denied Your Business Interruption Claim?

COVID-19 has created unprecedented losses and trying conditions across the world. Loved ones have been lost to the disease, many lives have been upended, and the economy is suffering enormously.

Business owners in Minnesota and across the country are suffering substantially due to COVID-19 related losses. These losses are the result of both executive orders mandating closure of certain businesses and temporary business closures due to the risk of COVID-19 cases at the workplace.

Why Are Business Interruption Claims Being Denied?

Many business owners hold property insurance coverage to support them in times like these when their business experiences unexpected losses due to damage to the business. Property insurance policies are supposed to cover business monetary losses in the event of damage to property as well as the inability to operate a business related to executive orders.

Unfortunately, most insurance carriers in Minnesota and nationwide have been denying business owner claims for coverage after they sustained substantial income losses related to COVID-19. These carriers claim their policies were not meant to cover losses from a pandemic such as COVID-19 and that the pandemic does not constitute physical damage to property. However, the public policy and personal implications from such a conclusion could forever harm business owners and cause further damage to an already fragile economy.

Business Interruption Insurance Litigation Status

At this time, there are several individual actions filed in various state and federal courts across the country over claim denial issues related to business income loss coverage. There have also been several petitions filed before the Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation [JPML] to consolidate such claims into a multidistrict litigation. The petitions argue that while insurance plan language may vary across carriers and plan-holders, that the issues at stake, what constitutes property damage to trigger coverage, are similar for every plaintiff.

The JPML will hear arguments on these petitions on July 30, 2020. Shortly thereafter, the JPML will issue an order deciding whether these types of claims are appropriate for consolidation, and if so, the location for such consolidated proceeding.

Let GoldenbergLaw Help

Partner Laura Pittner
Laura Pittner

GoldenbergLaw is representing business owners to further pursue these denials from their insurance carriers. If you have a claim or know someone who has a business income loss claim, please let us help. It is important to report and track losses and make a claim in a timely manner to preserve coverage opportunities. Time is of the essence.

Contact GoldenbergLaw Partner Laura Pittner today at lpittner@goldenberglaw.com or 612-436-5027 to discuss your potential claim. Let us deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.

FDA Warns: Hand Sanitizers with Toxic Chemical

COVID-19 Update from the FDA: The FDA Warns Against the Use of 9 Hand Sanitizers Potentially Containing a Toxic Chemical

On June 22, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that consumers should avoid using 9 hand sanitizers that may contain a potentially fatal ingredient–methanol (wood alcohol). Exposure to methanol could be toxic if absorbed through the skin or ingested.

Which Hand Sanitizers are Listed in the Warning?

The FDA identified the following products manufactured by Eskbiochem in the warning:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

What is the Evidence?

The FDA tested samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ for menthanol. Lavar Gel contains 81% methanol and no ethyl alcohol, and CleanCare No Germ contains 28% methanol.

Who Manufactures These Hand Sanitizers?

On June 17, 2020, the FDA contacted the Mexican manufacturing company of the hand sanitizers, Eskbiochem, to recommend that the company remove its hand sanitizer products from the market due to the risks associated with methanol poisoning. However, currently, the company has not taken action to remove these products from the markets.

What is Methanol?

Methanol is commonly known as wood alcohol. The FDA says that it “is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects.”

Methanol was once manufactured by the distillation of wood. Wood alcohol was a danger for drinkers during Prohibition. In New York in 1926, about 750 people died after drinking bootlegged liquor that contained wood alcohol.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Exposed to Methanol in Hand Sanitizers?

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment which is vital for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol positioning.

Substantial methanol exposure may lead to:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Permanent blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Permanent damage to the nervous system
  • Death

The FDA recommends that consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush these products or pour them down the drain.

Who Is Most at Risk for Methanol Poisoning?

All persons who use the listed hand sanitizers on their skin or have ingested the products are at risk. However, young children who may ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

What is the FDA Saying About Other Hand Sanitizer Manufacturers?

The FDA also expressed their concerns about other hand sanitizer companies inaccurately promoting their products as providing protection against viruses- such as COVID-19- because “there is no evidence to support these claims.”

The FDA warned the maker of Purell hand sanitizer to stop marketing their hand sanitizers as reducing or preventing diseases, citing lack of “adequate and well-controlled studies” to support the marketing claims.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a surge in hand sanitizer sales. In March 2020, the FDA attempted to boost the production of hand sanitizers.

In April 2020, the FDA said that it will be seeking additional information about the effectiveness and safety of three active ingredients found in over-the-counter hand sanitizers: benzalkonium chloride, ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.

After research, the FDA concluded that 28 other active ingredients cannot be used in those antiseptic rubs anymore.

A few companies have been sued over inaccurate marketing claims, including Germ-X manufacturer Vi-Jon Inc. and hand sanitizer company BioDefense Inc.

In May 2020, a California federal judge sided with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in halting BioDefense from marketing their products as protecting against a range of infectious diseases.

How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You

Our product liability attorneys in Minnesota have 30 years of experience working with many different types of products. Contact our team today and leave the sleepless nights to us. Allow us to give you the Gold standard of advocacy that you deserve.

 

Fatal Car Crash on I-35W in Minnesota

What Happened on I-35W?

On Saturday, June 20 on Interstate 35W in Richfield, Minnesota, 4 people died and another person suffered life-threatening injuries in a wrong-way crash.

Minnesota State Patrol reported that a Nissan Murano SUV was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of I-35W near 66th Street when it crashed into a GMC Terrain SUV going northbound just before 10pm on June 20.

The accident report revealed that 3 out of the 4 people in the GMC Terrain SUV died at the scene and the fourth individual was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with “life-threatening injuries.”

The driver was the only person in the Nissan Murano SUV and died at the scene.

Increase in Fatal Car Crashes Since the COVID-19 Lockdown

A report from the National Safety Council (NSC) reveals that fatalities from motor vehicle crashes spiked 14% in the month of March during the COVID-19 quarantines. The NSC found that for every 100 million miles driven in March 2020, there were 1.22 deaths on the road, compared with 1.07 in March 2019. 42 people were killed in traffic collisions in the first 45 days after Minnesota’s March 16 stay-at-home order went into effect.

This increase in traffic fatalities occurred despite the actual number of miles driven dropping 18.6% compared to the same time period last year.

Lorraine M. Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council said, “Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving.”

Increase in Dangerous Driving During COVID-19

Authorities claim that speeding, careless driving and blowing through red lights are the main causes of the deadly crashes.

In the five weeks after many states announced lockdown orders on March 16, the data company Zendrive said drivers’ use of cell phones while driving is up 38% over pre-lockdown numbers. The number of drivers who exceeded speed limits had also increased by 27%, hard braking increased by 25%, and collisions per million miles increased by 20%.

Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank reports that Minnesota has also seen a big increase in people speeding with fatal consequences: “In April 2019, Minnesota State Patrol reportedly stopped 58 people who were allegedly driving over 100mph. This April, they stopped 143 drivers doing at least 100 which is an 146% increase. The higher the speeds, less reaction time, the more injuries we have, the more fatal crashes we have.”

Michael Hanson, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety in Minnesota, said, “We’re getting reports every week of dozens of drivers being cited for traveling over 100 miles an hour. That’s just insanity for our roadways.”

The Zendrive report explained that, “As a result, every minute spent on the road is riskier, every mile is riskier. The data shows our anxiety over social distancing and growing attachment to screen has carried over into our driving habits.”

How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You

If you are in need of a car accident attorney in Minnesota or Wisconsin, reach out to today and get a free consultation. There is no obligation and no fee unless we win you the case. Reach out today and leave the sleepless nights to us.