Who will foot the bill for the extra cost of making movies and TV shows at the end of 2020 when state governments relaxed shutdown orders but infections soared? This is the crucial question that will be answered by a major lawsuit filed Thursday by Fireman’s Fund against Disney.
The insurer will at least partially reimburse Disney for the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Fireman’s Fund agrees that civil authority coverage has been triggered. It was at this point that the government authorities made it impossible to continue the productions. Disney believes other policies were triggered as well, but the big fight is about the so-called “second wave claims”.
Here’s how a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court describes the “second wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic:
“After several months, the stop orders were gradually modified, allowing production to resume. However, various jurisdictions have imposed requirements, including, for example, frequent testing and quarantine of cast and crew in the event of exposure. The restrictions have resulted in more closures, more spending and more claims. “
Fireman’s Fund gives the example of a non-essential crew member having face-to-face contact with a filmmaker and then reporting an infection, requiring a costly downtime for 14 days. Who pays? According to the complaint, Disney is claiming $ 10 million for these types of second wave claims.
Disney would like its distribution coverage to apply here, but Fireman’s Fund says that otherwise, a healthy distribution being quarantined simply because of exposure does not trigger this policy.
Disney would like civil authority coverage to apply here, but Fireman’s Fund argues that testing and quarantining isn’t quite the same as when a government makes it impossible not to use a facility.
Disney would like the near-peril coverage to apply here, but Fireman’s Fund, well, has a pretty eye-catching answer.
“Fireman’s Fund maintains that the cover in the event of imminent danger is not applicable because the peril, that is to say the pandemic, is no longer imminent», Specifies the complaint. “On the contrary, it happened in 2020. As an alternative, the Fireman’s Fund argues that while the peril is not the pandemic itself but rather the imminent risk of infection than the cover for imminent peril does was not intended to apply when a producer, i.e. TWDC [The Walt Disney Company], intentionally puts the cast and crew at risk by continuing production in the face of a peril that must, by definition, be imminent and of such probability and gravity that it would be unreasonable or unreasonable to ignore it.
Finally, Fireman’s Fund is also looking to avoid having to pay Disney back an extra week or two of a break during the December vacation. At the time, COVID-19 infections were on the rise and while no government expressed concern, none required additional time off. Fireman’s Fund describes Disney as generous, but sadly, concern and generosity does not trigger civil authority cover. Or at least the Fireman’s Fund is arguing.