Judge Rules Metallica Lawsuit Over Postponed South American Tour Can Continue

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The pandemic disrupted a lot of touring plans, including Metallica‘s proposed tour of South America that was scheduled to take place in the spring of 2020. But while trying to offset the financial loss, the band ran into coverage issues with Lloyd’s of London and that led to a legal dispute, one that is now being allowed to proceed after a California judge’s ruling.

According to Business Insurance, a Los Angeles state court has refused to dismiss the pandemic-related cancellation litigation filed by Metallica despite there being a virus exclusion in the coverage. The California Superior Court ruled that the lawsuit could not be dismissed at this preliminary stage because a “proximate cause” had not been established at to what caused the loss involved.

The tour started with two performances in San Francisco in September of 2019 and was scheduled to included six dates in South America, starting on April 15, 2020 in Santiago, Chile. But the shows were put off due to the pandemic shutdown.

The group filed suit against Lloyd’s underwriters after they refused to provide coverage, charging breach of contract and tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Lloyd’s, meanwhile, contended that the pandemic caused the cancellation and therefore would fall under the policy’s virus exclusion. Metallica’s legal team countered 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.”

According to the complaint, that would include “that travel restrictions, the duty to mitigate damages, the need to ‘flatten the curve’ and stay-at-home orders all caused the shows’ cancellations.”

Metallica’s legal team also argued that while COVID-19 and SARS-Cov-2 still exist, “travel restrictions and restrictions on social gatherings have lifted and eased, suggesting that it was something more than just the virus/diseases that caused the cancellations.”

Metallica attorney Jeffrey Schulman was quoted by Business Insurance as stating that the fact that “the virus is still pretty much here,” citing concerts and pro sporting events taking place with fans in seats, undercuts the argument that the virus alone caused the cancellations.

The metal icons have returned to the concert stage in recent months, first playing a surprise show at The Independent in San Francisco and then following that with another surprise gig at The Metro in Chicago. The shows served as a warm-up of sorts for the band’s two headline appearances at the Louder Than Life festival last month.

Metallica’s next gig is California’s Aftershock festival, which will see the group headline two nights again this weekend on Friday, Oct. 8 and Sunday Oct. 10. Check out the rest of their upcoming dates here.

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