Microorganism Exclusion Applies to COVID-19 Virus, N.J. Federal Judge Rules
December 21, 2021
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge has granted Zurich American Insurance Co.’s motion to dismiss a theatre’s claims for COVID-19-related business income and civil authority coverage, ruling that the policy’s microorganism exclusion applies.
In a Dec. 17 order, Judge Brian R. Martinotti of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey rejected Count Basie Theatre Inc.’s argument that the exclusion is ambiguous because the COVID-19 virus is not a microorganism.
“Count Basie’s assertion that a virus is generally not considered an organism is irrelevant, because an insurance policy may adopt special definitions for its terms, even …