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COVID-19

Cosmetic surgeon sues insurer for coverage of COVID-19 losses

Thomas Perry  

Thomas Perry  

Boutros v. Sentinel Insurance Co., No. 2020-20934, complaint filed, 2020 WL 1647024 (Tex. Dist. Ct., Harris Cty. Apr. 2, 2020).
 
Sean Boutros, M.D., filed suit April 2 in the District Court of Harris County, Texas, seeking a declaration that his Sentinel policy covered losses that his surgical practice has sustained due to civil authority orders over COVID-19.
 

Nonessential surgeries

According to Boutros’ complaint, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declared a local disaster and public emergency on March 11, and on March 24 issued a stay-at-home order to all county residents.
 
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order March 19 postponing all nonessential surgeries and procedures, and on that same day, the state’s department issued a public health disaster declaration, the complaint says.
 
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended delaying all non-urgent surgeries and procedures to slow the spread of the coronavirus and marshal health care resources against the pandemic, according to the complaint.
 
These governmental orders resulted have resulted in substantial losses to Boutros’ surgical practice, the complaint says.
 
Boutros holds a business insurance policy with Sentinel that provides coverage for extra expenses and loss of business income and property resulting from civil authority orders, according to the complaint.
 
Sentinel has denied coverage for Boutros’ COVID19-related losses, the complaint alleges.
 
Boutros says that the insurer collected his premiums with “no intention of providing any coverage” for losses caused by “a viral outbreak like the COVID-19 outbreak” and the resulting governmental orders.
 
Boutros has asked the Harris County court to declare that Sentinel does in fact owe coverage for his alleged COVID-19 losses.
 
The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial and attorney fees.

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