Tim Thornton Speaks on “The Tulsa Race Massacre Fire Insurance Claims” at ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Mid-Year Program

March 2022

Partner Tim Thornton was a co-panelist for the presentation “The Tulsa Race Massacre Fire Insurance Claims – A Mini Trial Experience” at the 30th annual American Bar Association Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Mid-Year Program. 

On May 31 and June 1, 1921, mobs of White residents, many deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked Black residents and destroyed homes and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, the “Black Wall Street.” Many of the properties were insured under fire policies, but the insurers denied coverage because of riot exclusions. The panelists conducted a mini-trial to try the issue of whether the riot exclusion should apply, considering rules for interpretation of insurance policies, analyzing remote, proximate, intervening and concurrent cause issues. The program was held on February 25, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona.

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