Aztar Corp. v. U.S. Fire Insurance (CA1 1/28/10)

You think blogging cases is fun? Here’s the first sentence of this one: “We address in this opinion, among other issues, what the term “interruption of business, whether total or partial” means in this contract of insurance.” And the bottom of the screen says that the slip opinion is 47 pages long. Sigh.

Aztar owned the Tropicana in Atlantic City. It built an expansion next door; during construction, part of the new building collapsed. The rest of the resort was not damaged but the accident delayed the completion of the expansion and caused the state to close temporarily a road and other access-ways, both resulting in a loss of business. Aztar made a claim under its business-interruption coverage.

Fortunately, that’s almost all that’s interesting about this opinion. As you know from reading our FAQ (you have, right?) we only cover the interesting stuff. If business interruption is your thing, or if you’re a masochist, you can follow the court as it analyzes each policy word with a microscope, tells us how barrels are made, fantasizes about cows and ice cream, and concludes that the trial court was partially right for the wrong reason and partial wrong for the right reason. Or something.

Yes, this thing is, whether right or wrong, a mess.

The only interesting question is: what does this suit by a Delaware corporation against national and international insurers arising out of a New Jersey accident have to do with Arizona? The opinion doesn’t explain that to us. It does wonder why Arizona law applies; turns out that the parties never explained that to anyone.