A Washington state judge ruled that the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe suffered a physical loss to its casino and restaurants from government-imposed closure orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, granting the tribe an early win against Affiliated FM Insurance Co. In an interview with Law360, Partner Peter Halprin commented, “Policyholders have fared better in state court than in federal court, with insurers successfully defeating claims via motion.”

Halprin added that “a reading of pre-pandemic insurance law by state appellate courts interpreting their own pre-pandemic insurance case law should be more favorable to policyholders, especially as these cases filter up to high court rulings in various states.”

“We’ve seen the early rulings so far, and the appellate courts are now looking at those rulings,” he said. “As we see state court opinions, we’ll know more, since insurance law is a creature of state law. The big picture is that as the year progresses, we’ll learn more about state appellate courts’ view of the law.”

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