Following in the legal footsteps of UTA, Ben Affleck’s Hypnotic, AppleTV+’s The Morning Show, Disney and more, Paramount is going after its insurance company for not covering Covid-19 costs on Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 7.
In a breach of contract lawsuit filed Monday in California federal court, the studio claims that the latest sequel in the more than $3 billion franchise was forced to hit the production pause button back in February 2020, then in March 2020 and twice also in October 2020 because of illness among “a covered person,” crew and a quarantine order by the Italian government. Adding a greater context to Cruise’s well-covered tirade last year over safety protocols seemingly being ignored, positive tests “among cast and crew” and a “quarantine for ten days” by the UK government led to the tentpole shutting down for a fifth, sixth and seventh time.
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“Paramount suffered significant losses and damages covered by the Policy when it was forced to suspend and postpone production of Mission Impossible 7 due to Closure Orders affecting different filming locations, cast illnesses, and the need to protect cast and crew and its locations from exposure to SARS-CoV-2,” says the jury trial-seeking suit against Federal Insurance Company that the ViacomCBS owned studio’s Pasich LLP lawyers filed Monday.
Paramount had a $100 million policy with the Chubb subsidiary. “However, when Paramount sought payment for the full amount of its insured losses under the policy, Federal refused,” according to the 22-page complaint (read it here).
“Federal arbitrarily categorized several of Paramount’s losses as subject to only one limited category of coverage (which provided for coverage of just $1 million in connection with each single loss), and unjustifiably refused to cover other losses altogether,” the suit adds, noting just $5 million was ever paid out on losses of much greater value.
“Ultimately, Federal paid only a small portion of Paramount’s losses, denying coverage for the majority of them. By doing so, Federal breached the parties’ contract. Furthermore, Federal acted unreasonably, choosing to favor its interests over those of its insured, tortiously breaching the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.”
In language used by others who have been down the same legal path with their insurers over the costs of the coronavirus, Paramount asserts that “Federal’s conduct is contemptible and has been done with a conscious disregard of Paramount’s rights, constituting oppression, fraud, and/or malice.” The studio is seeking a series of unspecified but undoubtedly pricey damages.
A jaw dropper at CinemaCon last week in Las Vegas with sneak peeks at Cruise’s superspy Ethan Hunt in action, Mission: Impossible 7 is set for release on May 27, 2022, on Memorial Day weekend.
Bets are off if this lawsuit will be over by then.
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