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Publican hits insurer with €3m business interruption lawsuit

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Sinnotts is one of the popular Dublin city centre pubs suing over significant Covid-19 losses

Sinnotts is one of the popular Dublin city centre pubs suing over significant Covid-19 losses

Sinnotts is one of the popular Dublin city centre pubs suing over significant Covid-19 losses

A publican suing insurer FBD is claiming losses of more than €3m on one bar as a result of having to temporarily close due to Covid-19.

Chris Kelly, of Sinnotts in Dublin city centre, is one of four publicans who initiated legal action against FBD over its refusal to pay out on business interruption claims.

Court documents seen by the Herald outline estimated losses ranging from €754,000 to €3.14m and provide an insight into the basis of the legal challenges.

At the heart of the claims is what one of the publicans described as a "broken promise" by FBD.

Last week, the High Court heard how Lemon & Duke, which is co-owned by managing director Noel Anderson and rugby stars Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Rob and Dave Kearney, had scheduled mediation with FBD.

An adjournment of two weeks was subsequently granted for the case.

Mediation

However, a source revealed yesterday that "mediation did not go very well" and the case will return to the Commercial Court on Monday.

Court papers lodged on behalf of The Leopardstown Inn, which is owned by the Loyola Group, claim that FBD expressly acknowledged the pub was covered for the coronavirus.

The pub's policy had a clause stating it was covered for clos-ure caused by an infectious disease, and in correspondence exchanged between March 12 and March 17, FBD allegedly stated this extended to Covid-19.

However, the company then apparently changed its stance when business interruption claims were subsequently made.

The Loyola Group and the Chris Kelly Group comprise more than 15 landmark pubs between them.

In documents lodged by both, they claim the losses suffered should be calculated on what they earned in the previous year under normal circumstances, and not on what they would have earned had they remained open during the pandemic.

FBD provides cover to around 1,300 publicans.