WASHINGTON – The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has issued five orders relating to COVID-19 Business Interruption to determine if insurer-specific MDL dockets should be created for lawsuits against Lloyd’s London, Cincinnati Insurance Co., Hartford, Society Insurance, and Travelers Insurance. The JPML has ordered parties involved in these related lawsuits to show cause why the actions should, or should not be, coordinated to a single district. These proposed MDL dockets are MDL No. 2961, MDL No. 2962, MDL No. 2963, MDL No. 2964, and MDL No. 2965, respectively. A similar request was made to the Panel for State Farm Insurance; however, this request was denied.
The JPML issued these orders and proposed MDL dockets in response to denying centralization in MDL No. 2942. As the JPML stated after their last hearing regarding COVID-19, “with respect to these four (now five) insurers or insurers groups, centralization may be warranted to eliminate duplicative discovery and pretrial practice.”
The next hearing session is on September 24, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. (EST) and will be conducted through videoconference. The Panel will make their decision based on the oral arguments presented and will likely issue an order regarding their final decision a few weeks following.