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Supreme Court of Ohio
February 8, 2022, Submitted; December 12, 2022, Decided
[*P1] This case comes to us as a certified question from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In the underlying litigation, the plaintiff—respondent, Neuro-Communication Services, Inc. ("Neuro")—argues that its commercial insurance policy entitles it to recover income it lost after it was forced to cease almost all operations for the first several weeks of the COVID-19 ("Covid") pandemic. Its insurers, defendants-petitioners, Cincinnati Insurance Company, Cincinnati Casualty Company, and Cincinnati Indemnity Company (collectively, "Cincinnati"), moved to dismiss the suit or, in the alternative, to have the federal court certify a question of state law to this court. See S.Ct.Prac.R. 9.01(A) (providing that we may answer a question of law certified to us by another court in an "order finding there is a question of Ohio law that may be determinative of the proceeding and for which there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of this Supreme Court").
[*P2] Neuro's policy is governed by Ohio law and provides coverage for a "direct 'loss'" [**5] to certain property. The federal court concluded that whether this provision covers a claim based on Covid-related business shutdowns is a question of Ohio law for which there is no controlling precedent from this court. It also observed the significance of the question, as a large number of suits seeking coverage under the same or similar language are pending in state and federal courts across Ohio, making an authoritative answer to the question desirable. The federal court therefore certified the question to this court, and we agreed to answer it. We now answer it in the negative.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022-Ohio-4379 *; 2022 Ohio LEXIS 2482 **
NEURO-COMMUNICATION SERVICES, INC., v. CINCINNATI INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL.
Notice: THIS SLIP OPINION IS SUBJECT TO FORMAL REVISION BEFORE IT IS PUBLISHED IN AN ADVANCE SHEET OF THE OHIO OFFICIAL REPORTS.
Prior History: [**1] ON ORDER from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Certifying a Question of State Law, No. 4:20-cv-01275-BYP.
Neuro-Communication Servs. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20069, 2021 WL 274318 (N.D. Ohio, Jan. 19, 2021)
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Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Intent, Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Policy Interpretation, Entire Contract, Business Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Property Claims, Evidence, Types of Evidence, Documentary Evidence, Parol Evidence, Property Insurance, Coverage, Property Damage