A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Thursday (February 3) that Live Nation’s insurance company may have to pay the concert giant’s huge losses due to COVID-19 closures, which reportedly included more than 10,000 canceled shows. or postponed.
Live Nation sued Factory Mutual Insurance Co. last year after the insurer refused to cover the promoter’s losses during the pandemic, which Live Nation said included 15 million canceled or postponed tickets.
Factory Mutual decided to end the case and argued that virus shutdowns are not the type of “physical loss or damage” that would be covered by Live Nation’s policy, but Judge John A. Kronstadt ruled. said on Thursday that the presence of COVID-19 could be enough for a “physical intrusion” that it could be covered.
“The complaint sufficiently alleges that infectious respiratory droplets, which transmit COVID-19, are physical objects that can alter the property on which they land and remain,” the judge wrote.
Crucially, the ruling doesn’t mean Live Nation won its request for coverage. Instead, the judge simply denied Factory Mutual’s claim to win the case at the earliest stage. The two companies will now proceed with discovery and a possible trial over the disputed policy.
Still, it’s a good sign for Live Nation. The case is one of many lawsuits filed by restaurants, retailers and other businesses seeking insurance coverage for damages caused by COVID-19. So far, these cases have largely been won by insurers, often with early-stage decisions like the one Factory Mutual was seeking.
It’s unclear exactly how much Factory Mutual would have to pay if it ultimately loses the case, but Live Nation argued it suffered “massive losses” and purchased its insurance plan as “protection against this exact condition”. By the time the company filed the lawsuit in January 2021, it said it had already canceled more than 5,000 gigs and postponed another 6,000.
A lawyer for Factory Mutual did not return a request for comment on the ruling.