Federal Panel To Weigh Consolidation Of Pandemic Coverage Suits

 Thursday, July 30, 2020

 Bloomberg Law

Small businesses and their insurers are set to plead their case to a special panel of federal judges on the prospect of combining a multitude of lawsuits over pandemic-linked business loss coverage in a single court venue.

The virtual arguments, set for Thursday before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), are the culmination of more than three months of the parties’ squabbling about whether the cases should be consolidated, if at all, in either a Pennsylvania or Illinois district court.

The panel’s ultimate decision is expected to play a role in determining the fate of numerous insurance coverage cases.

After the coronavirus hit the U.S. earlier this year and states imposed restrictions to stem its spread, hundreds of businesses subject to mandatory closures and other limitations—ranging from restaurants and retail stores to Las Vegas casinos—sued their insurers in state and federal courts across the country over denied claims.