Two insurance companies – Prudential Insurance Co. of America and Aetna – have ended a months-long legal battle by agreeing to drop their multimillion-dollar claim for damages to the 1960s musical “Shuffle Along.”
The litigation began when Peabody Insurance Co. argued that the musical “Shuffle Along” unfairly encouraged women to become pregnant and then become members of the theater group at the center of the show.
Peabody contended that in 1968 it had signed off on what it later believed was an implied consent to agree to covering a musical that had a plot point of a pregnant former woman joining the Shuffle Along because of the age-old drama about her losing her husband to a love rival.
The former actress Tina Turner, who performs in the show, had, as a representative of the show, asked Peabody to pay $35,000 to cover insurance costs and personal expenses related to the creation of the show. At the time, the insurance company had dismissed its claims for damages as “preposterous.”
But the case soon became highly politicized. The state court in Cincinnati that has jurisdiction over the case recused itself as it had, as governor, appointed the son of a former judge who was representing the insurers. That decision ended the case for the year in 2016.
The case was eventually assigned to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cincinnati.