November 30, 2021

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Mohegan files suit against insurer over COVID-19 losses

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The Native American tribe that owns Mohegan Sun casino is fighting what it describes as the denial of claims for millions of dollars of losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recently filed lawsuit against the casino’s insurer.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority on Friday filed a lawsuit against its Rhode Island-based insurer, Factory Mutual Insurance Co. The authority contends in the lawsuit that the insurance company failed to cover its loses as outlined in the contract.

Mohegan officials did not return request for comment on the suit Monday, nor did Factory Mutual.

On March 10, 2020, Gov. Ned Lamont declared a public health emergency in response to the coronavirus. The next day, the World Health Organization declared the virus outbreak a worldwide pandemic.

The lawsuit indicates that the authority shut down all operations at the casino at 8 p.m. on March 17. It remained closed through March 31. During that time, the lawsuit alleges, “the resort suffered millions of dollars in lost revenue.”

The lawsuit indicates that the casino was under an insurance policy through Farmers Mutual since March 1, 2020, that continued for a full year.

“Factory Mutual is obligated to cover the authority’s ‘actual loss sustained’,” the lawsuit claims. The suit says the insurer’s inability to cover the losses constitutes a “breach of contract.”

The filing by the authority last week is similar to a lawsuit brought against the same insurer by Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, the owner of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, back in February.

After the February filing, Factory Mutual said in a court filing that the losses caused by viruses and contamination were specifically excluded from the Foxwoods casino’s insurance policy. A hearing to dismiss this suit is scheduled for Aug. 2.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe said they lost more than $76 million caused by pandemic-related closures at Foxwoods and other properties they own.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

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