On July 30, 2020, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) heard oral argument on the potential consolidation of all federal cases involving business interruption coverage relating to coronavirus and shut-down orders. A decision will be rendered in the near future.
Meanwhile, many cases are on hold, waiting for a determination on consolidation. One such case is Pigment Inc. v. Hartford Fin. Servs. Group, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133230 (S.D. Cal. July 27, 2020), where the court granted a stay pending a decision by the JPML. The case is a class action based on denial of coverage under business interruption insurance. Plaintiff's case alleged a bad faith denial that risked the permanent closure of its business due to unexpected temporary shutdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiff sought a stay pending the decision of the JPML.
The court considered the possible damage which could result from granting a stay, the hardship which a party could suffer in being required to go forward, and the orderly course of justice measured by the simplifying or complicating of issues, proof, and questions of law which could be expected to result from a stay.