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Philadelphia Union ownership suing insurer for denial of coverage for Covid-19 losses

Ownership filed a suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Appeals on Saturday

Photo by Carl Gulbish

Owners of the Philadelphia Union and Subaru Park have filed a lawsuit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas against an insurer they say has denied coverage for Covid-19 related claims.

The suit against Federal Insurance Company, Chubb INA Holdings, Inc., and Chubb Group Holdings, Inc. seeks payment covering “loss of business income occasioned directly by the inability to use their properties due to the actual presence and continued threat of COVID-19 infestation,” according to the 39-page lawsuit filed on January 2.

Union and stadium ownership claim in the lawsuit to have paid $163,000 in premiums from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020 on the $192 million policy and outline the timeline of events that led to the shutdown of the facilities in Chester, the league and the eventual return of a limited number of fans for five games at the end of the season.

“Even after Subaru Park reopened to Philadelphia Union fans in a limited 15% capacity on October 11, 2020, the combined number of fans permitted all season was less than one game’s worth of fans in a regular season,” the suit states.

The Union were the first team in Major League Soccer to announce that a player had tested positive for Covid-19. Though it wasn’t announced until April 1 and Kacper Przybylko didn’t reveal it was him until May, the timeline included in the suit says an unnamed player contracted the virus in early March and that additional unnamed staff and athletes also tested positive in 2020. Jose Martinez is the only other player who was announced by the team to have tested positive during the 2020 season.

“Due to the confirmed COVID-19 cases and confirmed COVID-19 presence at the Insured Premises, it became necessary to close Subaru Park, the adjacent practice fields, and Training Facility that comprise the Insured Premises on March 12, 2020,” the lawsuit states. “The staff that works in the office building was also sent home.”

The suit goes on to explain the impact Covid-19 and subsequent government orders and protocols has had on finances, using words like “decimated” and “destroyed.” The Supporters’ Shield also gets mentioned a couple times.

“In 2020, the Philadelphia Union secured the Supporters’ Shield, winning the first title in the Club’s history,” the suit states. “Ordinarily, this success would enable Plaintiffs to more regularly sell out home games at Subaru Park, obtain lucrative sponsorship deals, and to enjoy substantially increased merchandise sales to paying fans during the home games at Subaru Park. Plaintiffs have been severely limited in their ability to realize these sources of revenue that would have accompanied the Philadelphia Union’s success due to COVID-19.”

The suit then goes on to detail the measures that were required to open the stadium to fans and details the insurance policy they are seeking to have honored.

The team and stadium owners, listed as Keystone Sports and Entertainment LLC, FC Pennsylvania Stadium LLC; Pennsylvania Professional Soccer LLC, Rivertown Developers, L.P., Rivertown TCI, L.P., and KSE U2 LLC in the suit, are represented by Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Jeffrey P. Goodman, Marni S. Berger, Samuel B. Dordick of Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C.