SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and the Law Office of Alexandra L. Foote, P.C. announce the filing of a restaurant insurance breach of contract lawsuit on behalf of Dominique Crenn and Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn, and Petit Crenn against Farmer's Group Inc. in San Francisco Superior Court. The complaint alleges that Crenn’s business interruption insurance policy claims were wrongly denied by Farmers Group after the restaurants suffered grave financial losses after complying with government-ordered COVID-19 business shutdowns. The lawsuit follows the previous filings for acclaimed chefs Pim Techamuanvivit (Kin Khao, Nari in San Francisco), Daniel Patterson (Alta Adams in Los Angeles; Coi in San Francisco), and Naomi Pomeroy (Beast in Portland).
As detailed in the complaint, the founder and operator of Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn, and Petit Crenn, Crenn was forced to completely and immediately shut down all her venues at the order of state and local authorities as part of the Coronavirus-related shelter in place orders. Currently the only female chef in America to attain three Michelin stars, Dominique Crenn is widely viewed as one of the most important and prominent chefs in the world. She received James Beard Foundation Best Chef: West recognition in 2018, and in 2016 was honored as “Best Female Chef in the World” by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
“We are truly honored to have the opportunity to represent world-class restaurateur Dominique Crenn as she courageously takes action against the wholesale denial of her restaurants’ insurance denial claims,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Robert Nelson, who represents Crenn and her restaurants in the case. “This is the fourth lawsuit we have filed on behalf of several of the country’s finest chefs, including Naomi Pomeroy, Pim Techamuanvivit, and Daniel Patterson, and we’ll be continuing to file actions against other insurance companies on behalf of chefs, independent restaurant groups, and others.”
Crenn’s restaurants purchased business interruption insurance from Farmers Group and Truck Insurance Exchange that include express coverage for “Lost Business Income” and the consequences of actions by “Civil Authority.” Contrary to the coverage provisions in their policies, when Crenn submitted claims for coverage, Farmers and Truck Insurance summarily denied the claims. The complaint further alleges that these denials were part of a premeditated strategy on the part of the defendant insurers to deny all claims relating to “shelter in place” orders and COVID-19.
“I have known Dominique Crenn since the beginning of her first restaurant, Atelier Crenn, and have helped her face business challenges over the years,” notes Alexandra Foote, who also represents Crenn in the case. “She is truly one of the most sensitive and beautiful people I have had the pleasure to represent, a poet and a chef; an inspiration to all, especially women. The denial of the insurance coverage for the restaurants causes real and lasting harm to her, the businesses, and the people who created and sustained these unique and internationally treasured restaurants she brought forth into the world. May her courage inspire others to come to this fight now in the courts, where we aim to relentlessly achieve fairness for all.”
The complaint maintains that the denial of valid and justified insurance claims constitutes a breach of contract as well as a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and unfair business practices, and seeks declaratory relief and damages.