Appeals Court Rejects METALLICA’s Insurance Lawsuit Over Losses From Postponed South American Tour

According to Billboard, a California appeals court has rejected METALLICA‘s lawsuit demanding that its insurance company pay for more than $3 million in losses stemming from concerts that were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit stemmed from the cancelation of METALLICA‘s six-date tour of South America in April 2020. Just weeks prior to the tour’s scheduled launch, COVID-19-related travel restrictions were enacted in all parts of the world, giving METALLICA no choice but to postpone the dates.

According to METALLICA‘s complaint, which was filed in June 2020 in Los Angeles Superior Court, the band’s standard “cancellation, abandonment and non-appearance insurance” policy with Lloyd’s Of London was denied by the insurer, which cited the policy’s communicable disease exclusion. The lawsuit called the move “an unreasonably restrictive interpretation of the policy” and alleged breach of contract. METALLICA argued that Lloyd’s “cannot conclusively say that the Pandemic is the efficient proximate cause of the cancellations because there are other adequately alleged causes that are covered under the Policy.”

The latest decision, issued Monday (March 18) by California’s Court Of Appeal, said that the canceled shows were not covered by METALLICA‘s insurance due to the policy’s communicable disease exclusion.

“To paraphrase Taylor Swift: ‘We were there. We remember it all too well,'” the justice wrote in the ruling. “There was no vaccine against Covid-19 in March 2020 and no drugs to treat it. Ventilators were in short supply. N-95 masks were all but non-existent. Patients were being treated in tents in hospital parking lots. The mortality rate of Covid-19 was unknown, but to give just one example of the potential fatality rate, by late March, 2020, New York City was using refrigerated trucks as temporary morgues. People were terrified.”

METALLICA‘s original complaint alleged “that travel restrictions, the duty to mitigate damages, the need to ‘flatten the curve’ and stay-at-home orders all caused the Shows’ cancellations.”

In a November 2022 decision obtained by Billboard, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly J. Fujie disagreed with METALLICA‘s arguments, writing: “The travel restrictions which caused the concert cancellations were a direct response to the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic. The evidence … demonstrates that the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the travel restrictions to South America and restrictions on public gatherings. The COVID-19 pandemic was therefore the efficient proximate cause of the concerts’ cancellations.”

Shortly after METALLICA filed the lawsuit, a Lloyd’s representative clarified via a press statement: “Lloyd’s is not an insurance company, it oversees and regulates a market of independent insurers. For that reason, we have no information on any specific policy or lawsuit and in any event are not authorized to comment on matters in litigation.”

In its suit, METALLICA acknowledged Lloyd’s as “a market in which independent insurance underwriters join together syndicates to sell insurance, mainly through brokers, under the umbrella of the Lloyd’s brand name.”

METALLICA sought unspecified compensatory damages as well as a declaration of the rights and obligations of the parties.

This was not the first time Lloyd’s Of London has been involved in a lawsuit related to the cancelation of major rock concerts. Back in 2016, FOO FIGHTERS settled their lawsuit against the world-famous 336-year-old insurance market on claims related to several shows scrapped during the band’s 2015 world tour. Because it was dismissed with prejudice, the FOO FIGHTERS were barred from re-filing the case on the same claim. Terms were not disclosed.

Some of the FOO FIGHTERS shows were called off after frontman Dave Grohl broke his leg on June 12, 2015, during a show in Gothenberg, Sweden. The injury resulted in the cancellation of seven shows. Three of those dates were mentioned in the suit. After his leg was treated, Grohl went on to perform 53 concerts, mostly while seated on a makeshift “throne” onstage.

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