Thursday, June 4, 2020
According to news accounts yesterday, see here, and here, in a videoconference hearing Illinois Judge Eve Reilly denied McDonald’s USA’s motion to dismiss the multi-plaintiff public nuisance suit filed against it recently. The judge reportedly ruled:
- Government health and worker safety agencies had jurisdiction over claims involving McDonald’s response to the pandemic
- Whether McDonald's has followed guidelines issued by those agencies is “a factual dispute . . . which the court is very well suited to handle”
- “The court has no cause to abdicate its judicial function, even if a remedy could be found in administrative bodies.”
These statements, while somewhat incongruous, demonstrate at a minimum that the case will be more likely to make it to trial than the Smithfield Foods case dismissed by a federal court in Missouri. To review why I thought that might be the situation see here. I have not seen a full transcript of the judge’s remarks, but I do not detect a warm embrace of the primary jurisdiction argument that won Smithfield Foods its early exit in the Missouri case.
Michael C. Duff