Court rules in Tina Turner musical’s favor against Chubb in COVID case


A Broadway musical biography production of entertainer Tina Turner that was canceled because of COVID-19 is entitled to coverage from a Chubb Ltd. unit, a New York state appeals court ruled Tuesday, in affirming a lower court ruling.

A three-judge panel of the New York-based New York Supreme Court, appellate division, first judicial department, affirmed a lower court and ruled that a communicable disease exclusion in coverage provided by Chubb unit Chubb Insurance Co. of Europe SE did not apply to the production, according to the ruling in Tina Turner Musical LLC v. Chubb Insurance Co. of Europe SE.

The lower court “correctly concluded that plaintiff’s losses resulting from the cancellation of its Broadway show during the COVID-19 pandemic did not fall within the communicable disease exclusion in the insurance policy,” the two-page ruling said.

“Contrary to defendant’s contention, the exclusion did not clearly and unmistakably preclude from coverage losses covered by communicable disease that were of such a systemic nature as to lead to quarantine or travel advisory orders by a national or international body or agency,” it said.

“Rather, giving the exclusion a strict and narrow construction, and resolving any ambiguities against defendant, we find that it precluded losses resulting from quarantine or travel advisory orders issued by a national or international body or agency in response to a communicable disease,” the ruling said.

“As plaintiff’s losses stemmed from Executive Orders issued by the New York State Governor and New York City Mayor banning performances and gatherings in theaters, the exclusion did not apply. Plaintiff’s claim for consequential damages are adequately pleaded.”

A March 12, 2020, order by New York State barred any theater seating 500 or more attendees from holding any further performances, which was followed by a similar March 16 order by Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to the March 2021 complaint, which seeks unspecified damages.

The show opened on Broadway in November 2019.

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.

 

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