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Ann Arbor restaurants sue insurance company over COVID-19 losses

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The owner of longstanding restaurant the Brown Jug and the Backroom Pizza in Ann Arbor is suing Cincinnati Insurance for refusing to cover $75,000 in business losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The complaint, filed this week, alleges that state and local governments' response to the virus caused physical loss and an interruption of business. The lawsuit said the restaurants' insurance policies with Cincinnati had no virus exclusions. 

This June 19, 2020 photo shows The Brown Jug restaurant in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The lawsuit also said the Brown Jug, a bar and restaurant on S. University that has been serving Ann Arbor since the 1930s, was traced as a possible source of a COVID-19 outbreak that infected up to 13 people between Oct. 1-6. 

In September, Ferndale restaurateur Dean Bach — owner of Dino's Lounge and M-Brew — also filed a suit against Cincinnati Insurance for denying his pandemic-related claim. 

Cincinnati Insurance has said it does not comment on pending litigation.

Southfield-based attorney Lawrence J. Buckfire is the lawyer for the Ferndale and Ann Arbor restaurants. He told The Detroit News on Wednesday that no progress has been made yet with the lawsuit filed in September. 

Buckfire said in September that he expects more suits like this to come forward from restaurants and other small businesses as their insurance claims are denied. 

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Twitter: @melodybaetens