Legal Roundup: Philly Eagles Sue for Communicable Disease Coverage, MLB Faces Injury Allegation and More

The latest court reports and filings impacting the insurance and risk management landscape.
By: | March 23, 2021

Philadelphia Eagles Sue Insurer Over COVID Losses

The Case: The Philadelphia Eagles have sued Factory Mutual Insurance Co. over losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the 2020 season, the Eagles played in empty stadiums for many games. For others it hosted 7,500 fans, representing 10% capacity of its 69,000-person stadium.

Less in-person attendance obviously led to less revenue.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: “The complaint describes the Eagles paying ‘top dollar’ for ‘best-in-class insurance coverage’ from Factory Mutual, but when the sports franchise sought to collect, it was denied by the insurer.”

The complaint also says the policy provides coverage for up to $1 billion per occurrence, but Factory Mutual intends to limit coverage to the $1 million aggregate sublimit for communicable disease coverage, the newspaper says.

Scorecard: The case has recently been filed and has not come to a resolution.

Takeaway: There are plenty of other sports teams (and businesses of all types) battling insurers over pandemic losses.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: “The Eagles join other professional sports franchises including the NBA’s Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Lakers as well as dozens of minor-league baseball teams seeking payouts from their insurers.” The results of these conflicts will likely depend on how judges interpret the unique policy language applicable in each case.

Foul Ball Injury Lawsuit Against Major League Baseball Can Proceed

The Case: A woman struck by a foul ball at Wrigley Field has sued Major League Baseball.

The Associated Press reports: “Laiah Zuniga was struck in the face by a foul ball during a 2018 Chicago Cubs game. In the lawsuit filed last year, Zuniga says the ball knocked her unconscious, caused facial fractures and extensive damage to her teeth. She says she was hit because the stadium hadn’t extended netting that protects fans from foul balls all the way down the third base line, where she was sitting.”

Scorecard: Zuinga previously won a lower court ruling and has now gotten clearance from an appellate court that the case does not need to be arbitrated by Major League Baseball.

The judge said it was unreasonable to believe the woman would learn about the arbitration process within the ticket’s fine print or on its website.

Takeaway: With more pitchers than ever frequently exceeding 90 mph and batter exit velocities routinely reaching higher than 100 mph, foul balls are flying into the stands harder and faster.

Without nets protecting all lower level seating, people are getting injured.

NBC News found 808 reports of fan injuries from baseballs from 2012 to 2019. “The injuries include concussions and permanent vision loss. In 2018, a grandmother celebrating her 79th birthday at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles died after being hit in the head by a foul ball,” it reported.

Apple Sued by Keyboard Maker

The Case: FlickType — which makes a keyboard for the Apple Watch — has sued the tech giant.

The Washington Post reports that FlickType “says it was praised by Apple and presented the technology at Apple’s headquarters in 2019. But then, ‘Apple threw up roadblock after roadblock that made no sense,’ the lawsuit alleges, keeping the technology out of the App Store for nearly a year.”

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Soon, FlickType copycat applications bolstered by fraudulent reviews stole their market share, the company complains. The App Store is the only way to get software on to iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. Apple did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.

Scorecard: The case has recently been filed and has not come to a resolution.

Takeaway: There are other companies unhappy with Apple’s App Store policies, too.

The Washington Post reports: “From Blix, the little-known developer of email software, to Epic Games, the maker of video game Fortnite, companies operating on the App Store are taking Apple to court and joining coalitions aimed at forcing the $2 trillion company to allow competing app stores.” &

Jared Shelly is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]