Attorney Mark Geragos and his law firm Friday filed court papers seeking a court order directing Travelers Indemnity Co. of Connecticut to provide compensation for financial losses suffered since Mayor Eric Garcetti’s March 15 order directing all non-essential businesses to close because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The still unofficial lawsuit states that even though the building in the 600 block of South Figueroa Street that houses the Geragos & Geragos law firm is technically exempted as an essential business under Garcetti’s order, access to the business has been sharply curtailed.
A Travelers representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The law firm employs 25 attorneys, paralegals and ancillary staff members, according to the plaintiffs. In December, the firm entered into a contract with Travelers to compensate it for business losses, including those suffered when the civil authority prohibits access to the property, according to the plaintiffs.
Geragos and the firm believe Travelers has “no intention of providing any coverage … due to a loss and shutdown from a virus pandemic,” according to their court papers. “Any effort by Travelers to deny the reality that the coronavirus causes physical loss and damage would constitute a false and potentially fraudulent misrepresentation that would endanger policy holders such as plaintiff and the public.”
A declaratory judgment in the Geragos firm’s favor is needed to ensure the survival of the business “due to the unprecedented scale of the shutdown” caused by the Garcetti order, the court papers state.
Although Garcetti also is a named defendant, the law firm only seeks a court finding that his order “constitutes a prohibition of access” or a “significant limitation of access” to the Geragos firm.