A Chicago federal judge has allowed plaintiffs to proceed in multidistrict litigation bellwether cases challenging an insurer’s denials of their COVID-19-linked requests for business interruption coverage.

The detailed opinion by U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang of the Northern District of Illinois focused largely on two key elements found in the relevant policy language issued by defendant Society Insurance: causation and the meaning of “direct physical loss” as applied to the plaintiff establishments that saw their business and profits crater as the coronavirus took hold and restaurants and lodging places were forced to either partially or completely close.

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