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Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy Announce San Francisco’s John’s Grill and The Hartford Have Settled Their Hard-Fought Covid-19 Lawsuit


114-Year-Old Historic San Francisco Restaurant Resolves Litigation of Pandemic Closure

John’s Grill Will Donate to San Francisco City College Culinary School and Give Staff a Covid Bonus

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy announces after much litigation, San Francisco’s iconic restaurant, John’s Grill, will have an 11am press conference saying it has reached a settlement with The Hartford and its affiliate Sentinel Insurance Company over their decision to deny insurance coverage for business interruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic. With courts across the country dismissing business interruption cases, this settlement represents an extraordinary exception under California law.

In the early days of the pandemic, as restaurants faced financial ruin from mandatory closures, many insurers issued blanket denials of claims for business interruption losses. When his claims were denied, John’s Grill’s owner, John Konstin sought out the law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, which filed a lawsuit in April 2020. Two-and-a-half years later, John’s Grill is one of the few policyholders to obtain a settlement from a major insurer in Covid-19 business interruption litigation. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

John Konstin, John’s Grill’s owner, summed up the settlement: “Covid was and continues to be incredibly disruptive to the hospitality industry. The restaurant closures were unprecedented and gravely impacted the livelihood of those working at restaurants. The donation to the Foundation of the City College of San Francisco will support students in their pursuit of being a part of the City’s culinary heartbeat.”

Joe Cotchett, of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, representing John Konstin and John’s Grill, stated: “Hartford recognized that they had a serious legal problem which could go nationwide and open up many more lawsuits. Due to a confidentiality agreement, he would not reveal what language in the John’s Grill insurance policy left Hartford exposed to his claim. We hope that other small businesses read their policies very carefully.”

Brian Danitz, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, representing John Konstin and John’s Grill, stated: “It is an outrage how big insurance companies spent years collecting huge insurance premiums from small businesses like John’s Grill that are the fabric of this country and then refused to pay out claims when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It is important to hold these insurers to account.”

Andrew Kirtley, also at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, representing John Konstin and John’s Grill, noted: “Thousands of small businesses suffered through the pandemic only to have their business interruption claims denied with little recourse. This was a hard-fought result.”

The press conference will take place on Friday, December 16, 2022 at 11am at John’s Grill (63 Ellis Street, San Francisco). In attendance will be John’s Grill owner, John Konstin, and lawyers, Joe Cotchett, Nanci Nishimura and Brian Danitz.

About Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP engages exclusively in litigation and trials and has earned a national reputation for its dedication to prosecuting or defending socially just actions. To learn more about the firm, visit



Joe Cotchett

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy
Cell/Text (650) 245-8040

Brian Danitz
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy
Cell/Text (650) 704-0990

Lee Houskeeper
Cell/text: (415) 654-9141

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