Travelers testing strength of federal court dismissal in Madison County case

Steve Korris Aug. 14, 2008, 12:33pm


Travelers Insurance plans to test the strength of a July 24 order from U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert of Benton that dismissed a class action lawsuit against the insurer.

On Aug. 7, Travelers attorney Jill Sundberg of Edwardsville introduced Gilbert's order as evidence against certification of a similar class action in Madison County.

In both suits, chiropractors claimed Travelers improperly discounted their bills from treating accident victims.

In the federal case, Gilbert ruled that chiropractor Kathleen Roche failed to prove that Travelers breached a contract or committed fraud.

In the Madison County case, a class certification motion remains pending before Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack.

The Lakin Law Firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of chiropractor Richard Coy.

Federal court rulings don't bind state judges.

"The (federal) court's reasoning shows exactly why this type of case is unsuitable for class certification," Sundberg wrote.

Both plaintiffs tried to construe two contracts as one, she wrote, and Gilbert ruled that Illinois law doesn't allow that.

Gilbert also dismissed claims under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, she wrote.

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Travelers Insurance
1 Tower Square
Hartford, CT 06183

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