Settlement: Providers who sift through records can recover discounts

Steve Korris Jan. 15, 2009, 1:00am

Illinois medical providers can recover 80 percent of any discounts that Auto-Owners Casualty and Surety deducted from workers compensation payouts, under a class action settlement that Auto-Owners and LakinChapman of Wood River signed in December.

If Madison County Circuit Judge Dave Hylla approves the settlement, Auto-Owners will pay a $731,760 fee to the Lakin firm and Timothy Campbell of Godfrey.

Chiropractor Frank Bemis, as lead plaintiff, will collect $5,000.

All licensed medical providers in Illinois will receive notice, but the claim process will require abundant staff time.

To participate fully in the settlement, a provider must extract Auto-Owners bills from 14 years of records and determine in each case whether Auto-Owners took a discount.

A provider must tally the discounts and request payment at 80 percent.

Auto-Owners expects documentation and retains the right to challenge claims.

Robert Schmieder II of the Lakin firm and Auto-Owners counsel Richard Gottlieb of Chicago filed the settlement on Dec. 10.

They declared that they settled to avoid the risk and uncertainty of litigation.

A week later, the Lakins shut down a similar chiropractor class action.

Richard Coy and Coy Chiropractic Health Center dismissed a suit against Crawford and Company on Dec. 17.

Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder signed an order dismissing the case on Dec. 17.

She found that "the dismissal is not the product of any compromise or settlement of the claims of the putative class."

The Lakins filed both suits in February 2005, just ahead of the national Class Action Fairness Act that steered most new class actions to federal courts.

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