Lakin class action against PPO settles for $600

Steve Gonzalez and Steve Korris Dec. 7, 2007, 6:36am



A Lakin Law Firm lawsuit that could have bankrupted a Florida business had it prevailed as a national class action recently settled for $600.

Last month attorneys for Belleville chiropractor Ann Stock accepted the settlement after U.S Chief District Judge David Herndon in August denied certification of a national class action. The case was originally filed in Madison County and later removed to federal court.

Herndon had reached his decision shortly after Lakin lawyer Jeff Millar told him that if the company went out of business, it would stop breaching contracts.

Millar invoked doom at an Aug. 16 hearing, though Herndon gave him a chance not to do it.

At the hearing, Integrated Health Plan attorney Michael Kendall of Boston said the cost of a class action notice alone would bankrupt his client.

Herndon told Millar it was not the role of litigation to put people out of business. He asked Millar to respond.

Millar said Integrated Health Plan's website described it as one of the top five preferred provider organizations in the nation.

He said Integrated Health Plan was able to mount a vigorous defense.

He said, "Just because they claim they no longer have any money doesn't make their misdeeds right."

Millar said going out of business would be a dire result.

"But if that were to happen, that company would no longer be making those kinds of breach of contracts," he said.

Kendall responded that Integrated Health Plan offered access to 500,000 providers. He said the website described its reach, not its revenue.

Herndon wrote in his Aug. 22 order that, "…given the variations in contracts and state specific laws and regulations governing different lines of insurance, the Court has determined that the issues are too complex for this matter to be certified as a class action."

With Herndon's decision, Stock could only pursue individual claims.

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