Tulsa Race Massacre Fire Insurance Claims: A Mini Trial Experience – Tim Thornton Speaks at ABA TIPS Section Conference

March 2022

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 Black people were killed and many more were left homeless. Homes and businesses were looted and destroyed by fire. Many of the properties were insured under fire policies, but the insurers denied coverage because of riot exclusions.  

In the American Bar Association TIPS Section Conference session “Tulsa Race Massacre Fire Insurance Claims,” Partner Tim Thornton and co-panelists will conduct 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 speakers will also look at the number of occurrences issue.  

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The Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) is the ABA’s home for emerging issues and technologies in tort, trial and insurance law. 

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.