Could the COVID-19 Outbreak Lead to Additional Mediation Time?

The COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, outbreak sparked Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company and Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company (collectively Allstate) to request additional time prior to its scheduled mediation with defendants, Auto Glass America LLC (AGA) and its owner, Charles Isaly in their ongoing legal tug of war.

The mediation is currently scheduled for March 23, 2020, Allstate requested an extension until July 31, 2020, due to COVID-19’s impact thus far. According to Allstate’s motion, the requested date is 15 days after the discovery deadline.

“Since the mediation was scheduled, there have been growing concerns with the impact of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, particularly on the parties’ ability to travel and safely attend mediation in person. Plaintiffs’ representative will be required to travel via air to Orlando from Northbrook, Ill., for the mediation. Also traveling to the mediation from Scottsdale, Ariz., is Charles Isaly, and his attorneys Mac Phillips and Emilio Stillo are planning to drive to Orlando from South Florida,” a portion of Allstate’s motion to continue mediation reads.

According to Allstate’s motion, the insurance company reached out to the defendants to discuss the virus’ impact, at which the defendants “were not agreeable to continuing mediation and wished to proceed on March 23, 2020.” Allstate also noted it does not believe the mediation will be productive unless all of the parties are present.

“Simply put, Plaintiffs believe a settlement is more likely if the parties are all in attendance – in person – at the mediation. Plaintiffs wish to continue mediation, to allow all parties to attend in person without fear for the health and safety of the mediation participants and the family and friends with whom they will be in contact upon their return,” a portion of Allstate’s motion to continue mediation reads.

Case Background

The lawsuit began with Allstate’s complaint alleging that both AGA and Isaly allegedly pressured its insureds into hiring them for windshield replacements, while obtaining assignment of benefits (AOBs). The lawsuit began to heat up, as AGA and Isaly responded to Allstate’s emergency motion 24 hours before the presiding judge issued an order. To which AGA and Isaly filed another motion against Allstate. Shortly after a mediation was scheduled.

The insurance company previously urged the court to deny AGA and Isaly’s motion to compel Allstate to provide its pricing agreements. Allstate cited confidentiality as its reason for not providing its pricing agreements. However the presiding judge ordered the insurance company to produce its pricing agreements.

From there AGA and Isaly responded to Allstate’s emergency protective order. The presiding judge then issued an order regarding the emergency motion.

At this time the judge has yet to issue a response to Allstate’s request. Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continued coverage of the suit.

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