Health Insurance Company Attorneys Ask for End to Doctors’ Class-Action Lawsuit
Attorneys representing several insurance companies yesterday told U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno that they will appeal his ruling last month allowing an ongoing class-action lawsuit against them to proceed, the AP/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. The suit, brought by doctors, alleges that insurers, including Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Coventry, Humana, PacifiCare, United and Wellpoint, "routinely shortchanged" physicians to make a profit. Richard Doren, an attorney representing the insurers, said that upholding class certification in the case would be a "dark day" for the insurers (Wilson, AP/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 10/9). The insurers' attorneys also asked Moreno to delay the discovery process, or the gathering of documents and interviewing of witnesses, which Moreno earlier ruled could proceed. Brian Boyle, an attorney for the insurers, argued that the process could cost "tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars per defendant," the Miami Herald reports (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 10/9). But Archie Lamb, an attorney for the doctors, said that the recent request is the insurers' "best shot of putting [the case] on hold again." Harley Tropin, another attorney for the doctors, appealed to Moreno to reject the insurers' request, saying, "This is an effort to derail this litigation. We ask you to stop them" (AP/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 10/9). Moreno has heard arguments from both sides but has not yet made a decision. In late September, Moreno allowed the doctors' class action suit against the insurers but denied a similar suit filed by HMO members (Miami Herald, 10/9). The patients had claimed the insurers pledged "quality care" but instead "skimped on the care provided, based the care on corporate finances rather than medical need, concealed contracts with doctors that encouraged limited service and overvalued policies," the AP/Sun-Sentinel reports (AP/Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 10/9). Attorneys for the HMO members have not yet announced if they will appeal Moreno's verdict (Miami Herald, 10/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.