Lakin negotiates $7.8 million fee in Arizona federal court

Steve Korris Jun. 26, 2008, 2:20am

Judge Crowder

PHOENIX – Lakin Law Firm class action attorneys negotiated a better settlement with Allied Insurance in federal court in Arizona than they figured they would get in the court of Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder.

The Lakins and their associates at Freed and Weiss of Chicago abandoned a suit before Crowder this year and joined other firms to reap a $7.8 million fee in the Arizona court.

Allied agreed to provide cash payments to health care providers and patients whose bills the insurer reduced before paying.

After settling, the Lakins and Freed and Weiss moved to dismiss a Madison County suit they filed in 2004 on behalf of chiropractors Gerald Bemis Sr. and Mark Eavenson.

Crowder dismissed the suit June 3.

Bemis and Eavenson each received $5,000 as class representatives in the Arizona case.

The Lakins filed dozens of Madison County class action suits for Bemis and Eavenson, together or separately, from 2002 to 2004.

When they sued Allied in Madison County, the firm of Feazell and Tighe had pursued a similar suit for two years in Nueces County, Texas.

In 2005 the firm of McNamara, Goldsmith, Jackson and Macdonald sued Allied in U.S. district court at Phoenix.

Last year, all four firms concentrated their efforts on the Arizona suit.

They reached an agreement last October, and a judge approved it in March.

It did not specify the payments Allied would send to class members, stating only that payments would correspond to the challenged reductions.

Allied sent notices to more than 100,000 potential class members in every state but Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Forty providers excluded themselves from the settlement, including 22 in the Kansas City area.

Thirty-eight patients excluded themselves, though the Arizona court record did not show their addresses.

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