Federal Multidistrict Litigation Petition Filed In Connection With Coronavirus-Related Business Interruption Coverage Claims

Two Pennsylvania restaurants filed a Petition with the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on April 20, 2020, seeking coordination or consolidation of the pending nationwide business interruption coverage cases arising out of the coronavirus-related shutdowns. The restaurants recently filed individual cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

According to the Petition, the principal basis for the proposed coordination/consolidation of the various pending cases is that the survival of businesses is an issue of national importance which must be addressed uniformly.

The Petitioners may face hurdles in achieving MDL status, where they are both restaurants and thus represent only one sector of the economy, and because insurance law is state-centric. Additionally, addressing insurance coverage issues in a uniform manner may be challenging, as differing policy language contained in separate contracts of insurance and differing factual circumstances unique to individual claimants are necessarily at issue in the multiple lawsuits.

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