Lawrence Shipley DC v. MetLife

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 7, 2004, 8:15am

Dr. Lawrence Shipley

A Granite City chiropractor who believes he has blazed the trail for others in his profession to sue insurance companies will be in court Friday, Oct. 15 when Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron hears a motion to dismiss Lawrence Shipley DC v. MetLife Auto & Home Insurance.

"I started the wagon rolling with these cases," said Lawrence Shipley, D.C., who's filed 12 class action suits in Madison County.

And he has. Another Granite City chiropractor, Mark Eavenson, D.C., has filed 21 such suits alleging basically the same thing--that insurers are underpaying them. (See related story).

In this case, Shipley, represented by The Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, alleges that MetLife wrongfully and deceptively reduced payments to him by claiming the benefits of a purported PPO agreement, an agreement of which Shipley claims he was not a party.

"No attorney wanted to touch my cases because they did not want to take on big insurance companies," Shipley said when he first sought legal counsel.

Then he came upon the Lakin Law Firm who looked into the problem and decided that he did have a case.

"The straw that broke my back was when a sweet older lady hit a deer and was hurt," Shipley said. Shipley said he helped correct her problems without surgery. But, the insurance company told his patient the treatments were not medically necessary and that she must pay for the expenses out of pocket.

MetLife is represented by the Edwardsville firm of Burroughs, Hepler, and Broom.

Shipley said the reason for filing class action suits is due to the fact that most people do not lose more than $1,000.

"If one insurance company gets by with this, what is to keep others from following suit," Shipley asked. "A lot of people do not even know you can sue an insurance company."

Check next week's MCR to see how the Judge rules.

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