Reduced payouts class action removed to federal court under Act

Steve Korris Nov. 2, 2005, 8:18am

Nationwide Insurance has removed a proposed Madison County class action suit to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act that Congress passed in February.

The insurer bounced the case to U.S. District Court after the plaintiffs, chiropractors Gerald Bemis Sr., and Mark Eavenson, added a third plaintiff.

Attorney Jeffrey Millar, of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, filed the suit in 2004. He named Allied Property and Casualty as lead defendant, though in later filings he noted that Allied merged with Nationwide.

Bemis and Eavenson argue in this case, as they have argued in many others, that the insurer improperly reduced payouts on medical bills.

Millar has moved Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian to certify Bemis and Eavenson as representatives of a class of plaintiffs.

This September, Millar filed an amended complaint that added Acuna PT, a physical therapy clinic in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a plaintiff.

Nationwide attorney Lisa Wood removed the suit Oct. 17, arguing that the Class Action Fairness Act requires federal jurisdiction for new suits. She argued that addition of a new party constituted a new suit.

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