Law360 (October 21, 2020, 1:58 PM EDT) -- A former Illinois state representative and current attorney at Edelson PC has been chosen by policyholders to fight their multidistrict litigation against Society Insurance Co. over COVID-19 business interruption coverage.
Arthur Turner Jr., of counsel at Edelson's Chicago office, was designated as plaintiffs' liaison counsel by Society's policyholders on Tuesday. The attorney has represented plaintiffs in Biscuit Cafe Inc. et al. v. Society Insurance Inc. with other attorneys at Edelson.
In the declaration, Turner said his practice focuses on consumer and business-related class actions, and his firm has been appointed "to a number of leadership roles in MDLs across the country." Edelson "has sufficient resources and infrastructure to support the efficient and effective management" of the MDL against Society, he said.
Earlier this month, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized in Illinois 34 lawsuits accusing Society of wrongfully denying coverage for businesses' losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel said that centralization before U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois will provide an efficient path for the pending case against Society in federal courts in Illinois and five other Midwestern states.
According to the seven-member JPML, the individual and proposed class action cases against Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Society will involve multiple common legal and factual questions, including the proper interpretation of Society's policy terms and exclusions. The JPML acknowledged that each case will likely involve "some unique aspects," but said that is not enough to reject centralization.
Turner joined Edelson as an of counsel in early August. The attorney also works on the firm's nationwide Paycheck Protection Program litigation on behalf of small businesses, college football concussion lawsuits, and litigation protecting vulnerable communities and environmental matters.
Before joining Edelson this summer, Turner was a legislator in the Illinois House of Representatives for a decade. He sponsored legislation to help give loans to small businesses and advocated for stronger personal privacy to protect consumers' information online. Turner's previous legislative effort also focused on providing affordable housing and access to quality health care for Illinois residents.
A spokesperson for Edelson and Turner declined to comment.
The case is In Re Society Insurance Co. COVID-19 Business Interruption Protection Litigation, MDL No. 2964.
--Editing by Alyssa Miller.
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