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Lawsuit Filed Against CNA Insurance to Recover Insurance Money for COVID-19 Business Losses

May 18, 2020

CHICAGO, IL – Nationally respected personal injury law firm Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, along with insurance policyholder’s law firms Rutter & Russin, LLC and Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP, together announce the filing of an additional lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago retail business that is suffering a devastating financial loss in the COVID-19 crisis. Recent lawsuits have been filed on behalf of restaurants that have had their insurance companies deny claims for business interruption losses. The lawsuits detail that those losses should be covered and paid under the insurance contracts. Resolution of these claims is essential to the economic survival of these businesses.

A suit was filed May 6, 2020 in the Chancery Division of Cook County State Court in Cook County, Illinois. The plaintiff is the owner of UpMerch, a retail business in Chicago’s River North neighborhood that provides custom apparel to companies, teams, and event planners. The defendant is Continental Casualty Company (CNA Insurance), to which the business owner made contractual premium payments, expecting compensation during their time of need according to the policy written by the insurance company. This lawsuit is seeking a declaratory judgement from the court, meaning a decision that finds the insurance company owes the business owner coverage and improperly issued a denial. The lawsuit is not seeking additional damages.

This business and others have suffered an overwhelming financial impact that threatens their survival following the State of Illinois shut down of restaurants, bars, retailers and movie theaters announced on March 15, 2020, as an emergency measure to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few days later, on March 20, 2020, the Governor of Illinois expanded the order and closed all “non-essential businesses.”  These lawsuits do not question the necessity of the business closures nor criticize the Governor of Illinois for doing so, but rather demand the insurance companies meet their contractual obligation for which they have been paid by these responsible business owners. 

“The insurance companies need to do the right thing and meet their contractual obligation for business interruption claims. These are the policies they wrote themselves, and they were more than willing to accept the premium payments from business owners. We need to ensure the survival of the retail and restaurant industries for the long-term health of our nation’s economy,” said Antonio Romanucci, Founding Partner of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. 

“We have worked long and hard to build our business and we are doing our best to endure this pandemic so we can get back to serving our customers and contributing the local economy, but we absolutely need the proceeds we are due from our insurance claim to survive,” said Kevin Alsterda, owner of UpMerch.

In order to protect the rights of retail businesses and other organizations impacted by the pandemic business shutdown order, Romanucci & Blandin has strategically assembled a legal team of highly regarded experts to handle business interruption insurance claims. In addition to the nationally respected mass tort experts at Romanucci & Blandin, the team includes: Rutter & Russin, LLC, and Partner Bobby Rutter, one of the country's top insurance policyholder's rights attorneys; along with Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP and Partner Nick DiCello, a business and insurance litigation expert.

This legal team continues to share its expertise on COVID-19 business interruption litigation at this critical time in a number of ways. Antonio Romanucci was a featured panelist on the April 29th Crain’s Chicago Business Content Studio webinar addressing COVID-19 Business Relief,  Bobby Rutter has been featured in the media for his expertise on COVID-19 business interruption, Nick DiCello was an expert speaker on the April 21st legal webinar on business interruption losses for COVID-19 led by Mass Torts Made Perfect.

About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC

Romanucci & Blandin is a national trial practice committed to fighting for victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death arising from police misconduct, corporate negligence, civil rights actions, medical malpractice, mass torts and class actions. The attorneys’ steadfast commitment to fighting for those seeking justice around the country has helped the firm obtain multiple verdicts and settlements in the millions of dollars. The Chicago-based personal injury lawyers are dedicated to providing victims who suffered injury as a result of another’s wrongdoing full and fair compensation in a diligent, professional, skilled and caring manner. The lawyers actively support their communities and provide advocacy at the national, state and local levels on issues that support the U.S. tort system. Founded in 1998, Romanucci & Blandin is widely recognized for representing plaintiffs in numerous practice areas including: personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, pharmaceutical, mass torts, civil rights, police misconduct, excessive force, aviation, product liability and premises liability.  For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit or call (312) 458-1000. 

About Rutter & Russin, LLC

Rutter & Russin, LLC is proud of its success representing policyholders across the country, in all types of insurance coverage disputes, including claims for loss or damage to property, business interruption loss, declaratory judgments, insurance bad faith, life insurance, disability insurance, and insurance agent negligence.  For more information about Rutter & Russin, please visit or call (216) 642-1425.

About Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP

Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP was established in 1946 by Craig Spangenberg, an inductee into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. For more than 70 years, the firm has been achieving premium results on behalf of its clients in and out of the courtroom.  Spangenberg’s areas of expertise include insurance coverage, medical malpractice, police brutality and civil rights, personal injury, business disputes, products liability, class actions, and mass torts. The firm regularly serves in leadership roles in large, complex cases, including financial and banking class actions and large-scale pharmaceutical litigation. Spangenberg’s Peter Weinberger currently serves as Co-Liaison Counsel in the National Prescription Opiate Multi-District Litigation (MDL), one of the largest and most complex pieces of litigation in American history.

Spangenberg is known for taking on complicated and complex cases against some of the largest industries in the country. Spangenberg lawyers routinely obtain multi-million-dollar verdicts at trial.  The last three verdicts obtained by the firm were for $28 million, $3.97 million and $70.5 million. Spangenberg’s Pete Weinberger was a member of the trial team in the first Opiate MDL bellwether case that settled before opening statements for $260 million late last year.

For more information about Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber please visit or call (216) 600-0114.

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