Celebrity Lawyer and Former Supporter Slaps LA Mayor Eric Garcetti with a Wuhan Coronavirus-Related Lawsuit

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Posted: Apr 14, 2020 6:35 PM
Celebrity Lawyer and Former Supporter Slaps LA Mayor Eric Garcetti with a Wuhan Coronavirus-Related Lawsuit

Source: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos made a name for himself in Hollywood. He's had well-known clients, such as Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Colin Kaepernick, Scott Peterson and Susan McDougal. 

Even though Geragos is a liberal and even held private fundraisers for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the lawyer is suing the politician for his stay-at-home order that is taking a toll on businesses and individuals. Travelers Insurance is also listed as a defendant.

"I'm as liberal as one can get," the celebrity lawyer told Townhall. In fact, Geragos supported both Garcetti and his predecessor, Antonio Villaraigosa. "I supported both and held fundraisers for both. It's not like I supported their opponents."

The lawyer said things in Los Angeles have gotten worse under Garcetti's leadership, particularly the city's homeless population.

"I can almost chart the deterioration down to his mayoral term," he said. 

Geragos filed one lawsuit on Thursday and four more on Friday on behalf of his business, Geragos & Geragos, and several clients. Both Garcetti and Traveler's Insurance are named as defendants, Law and Crime reported. The lawyer is also suing in his individual capacity as a landlord. According to Geragos, he has “been forced to deal with unpaid rent and other related issues stemming from its tenants’ cessation of use with respect to the Insured Premises.”

Even though Geragos' business is considered "essential" because it's a law firm, the stay-at-home order has limited the amount of foot traffic that can take place at the firm's business building. The lawyer said that has taken a toll on his business.

To make matters even worse, Travelers Insurance refuses to cover the loss in business.

“Plaintiff faithfully paid policy premiums to Travelers, specifically to provide additional coverages for ‘Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage’ in the event of business closures by order of Civil Authority,” the complaint stated. “Under the Policy, insurance is extended to apply to the actual loss of business income sustained and the actual, necessary and reasonable extra expenses incurred when access to the scheduled premises is specifically prohibited by order of Civil Authority.”

According to the lawyer, insurance companies are doing everything in their power to get out of covering business owners who are feeling the effects of the Wuhan coronavirus.

"Insurance companies have decided they're not going to cover business interruption services. They're going to claim there's an exemption under business interruption, not because of the virus," Geragos told Townhall. "They're saying there's no business damage yet scientists are telling us the virus can stay on surfaces for three days and may even be airborne. That's the definition of physical damage."

The lawyer said this about a bigger issue of politicians wanting to prey upon businesses. On one hand, they want businesses to close to prevent the spread of the virus, but on the other hand, they don't want to give businesses any kind of tax relief. 

"[Garcetti] is included because of his stay-at-home order in Los Angeles that closed all businesses. He waited to collect the City of L.A.'s business taxes and then less than 30 days later issued this order," Geragos explained. "If he was doing it for pure motives, he should have suspended the city's business tax. It's an apparent move to squeeze every dime out of the business community."

Geragos' goal in this entire outcome is to put politicians on notice. 

"You can't collect tax money and put people out of business. America was founded on the principle of tax protection," he told Townhall. "This is the only way people are going to understand they work for the people instead of the other way around."

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