Partner James Sammataro, a co-chair of the firm's Media + Entertainment Group, spoke to Billboard Magazine this week about a new suit from the American country music group The Chicks' touring company Tunashoe Tours. The touring company is suing Lloyd's of London underwriters for $6.6 million, alleging breach of contract for failing to pay out an insurance claim over the band's canceled 2020 tour. The cancellation of live performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the entertainment industry worldwide. According to Billboard:

James Sammataro, who is not affiliated with this case, said The Chicks' legal arguments seem valid as there are very few alternatives to a stadium or concert performance.

"Any suggestion that you could have mitigated your damages by doing a live stream, well, that that's certainly not an adequate substitute because people are paying to see an in-person performance," said Sammataro, a partner at Pryor Cashman who is co-chair of the firm's Media + Entertainment Group. "They could potentially make some money off the live stream, but those dollars are nothing comparable to what you'd make on a normal tour.

Sammataro added that surprisingly despite all the canceled tours there has been relatively corresponding insurance lawsuits. Instead, many have quietly worked out arrangements to mitigate the harm and to preserve relationships.

"We have resolved a lot of cases for clients in the concert space, where we either agreed to a postponement agreed to some form of discount, or we return some money and push things back to a post-COVID world," said Sammataro. "It's an insular world and everyone's dealing with the same reality. We're all trying to be creative. We're all trying to live to the next day. You're not going to burn a bridge with your counterparts who you will have to later do business with."

However, Sammataro adds that he is also sympathetic to the insurance companies who are themselves in a precarious situation especially being "on the other side of the aisle."

"Everyone future is hurting," he said. "For our clients, we're not looking at it as a zero-sum game. We're looking at it, let's get through this together and figure out a way we can get to the other side collectively in a way that's fair."

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