'Particularly competent' lawyers settle class action for $4.2 million

Steve Korris Sep. 24, 2009, 12:11pm



Cincinnati Insurance and Cincinnati Casualty will pay Illinois medical providers at least $4,275,000 in a class action settlement that Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder approved on Sept. 3.

Plaintiff lawyers at LakinChapman Law Firm will share a $770,000 fee with Timothy Campbell of Godfrey.

Providers can recover up to 90 percent of any amount Cincinnati reduced from bills for treatment of workers compensation patients since 2000.

Cincinnati sent settlement notices to 33,778 providers in June, after Crowder granted preliminary approval.

Four providers opted out of the settlement, according to Robert Schmieder II of LakinChapman.

Local chiropractor Frank Bemis will receive $5,000 for representing the class.

Bemis sued Cincinnati and proposed a class action in 2005, just ahead of the effective date of the national Class Action Fairness Act.

The act steered most new class actions to federal courts.

Bemis alleged unjust enrichment, conspiracy and consumer fraud.

In an Aug. 27 motion for final approval of the settlement, Schmieder wrote, "Plaintiff has achieved an excellent result for the class."

"The total value of the class benefit exceeds $4,275,000," he wrote.

"The settlement is fair and reasonable in the opinion of competent counsel. There can be no doubt that plaintiff's counsel is particularly competent.

"Class action suits conserve judicial and litigant resources."

John Cunningham of Belleville, Steven Schwartz of St. Louis and Daniel Litchfield of Chicago represented Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, another Madison County suit that Lakin lawyers filed ahead of the Class Action Fairness Act fizzled.

On Aug. 26, Andrew Kuhlmann of LakinChapman moved to dismiss without prejudice a suit that local chiropractors Richard Coy and Thomas Kaltenbronn filed against Focus Healthcare Management.

"The parties have agreed that all parties shall bear their own costs and expenses of this litigation," Kuhlmann wrote.

Al Pranaitis of Alton represented Focus.

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