The Paris Commercial Court ruled Friday, in summary proceedings, to a Parisian restaurateur who had summoned his insurer Axa France after his refusal to compensate the operating losses of one of its establishments, closed in the context of the crisis coronavirus.
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Stéphane Manigold, head of the Eclore group, considered that the insurer was evading its contractual obligations concerning its establishment Le Bistrot d'à côté Flaubert, located in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, one of the four restaurants he runs with La Maison Rostang, Substance et Contraste. The restaurateur denounced "the explosive allegation of Axa France which maintains" that the government order of March 14 announcing that establishments such as restaurants could no longer accommodate the public, "does not constitute a decision of 'administrative closure'".
"A great moment for young and old bosses who are suffering"
Friday, in a summary decision, the court ruled in favor of Stéphane Manigold, he announced during a press conference. "Today is a great moment for all the big and small bosses who are suffering, who gave me the energy to fight. Axa put in disproportionate means to annihilate us. We faced a multinational, and we won, "said tears in his voice, Stéphane Manigold.
Axa had affirmed that its contracts did not envisage taking in charge a "loss of exploitation at the time of decisions by ministerial decrees consisting in prohibiting in a general way the access to the public to certain establishments to fight against the propagation of a virus".
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"The court has given us two and a half months on our gross margin. If the judgment is final, but Axa will no doubt appeal, I want to reimburse the state," he said.
The concern of restaurants
For several weeks, a showdown has opposed hotel-restaurateurs and insurers, the latter opposing a majority of dismissals to requests for coverage of operating losses. Restaurants and cafetiers will know at the end of May if they can reopen from June 2 in departments classified as "green". Some 55,000 establishments in the sector, cafes, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs - out of a total of 94,000 tourism businesses - have already obtained a loan guaranteed by the state.
Friday, sixty chefs, including several stars like Gérald Passédat, Marc Veyrat, Michel Saran and Gilles Goujon, put forward several claims, including one requesting that insurance companies "imperatively take care of the operating loss for all up to 15 to 25% ", and launched" a health catastrophe guarantee fund ", in a letter sent to AFP.