Status conference set in Roche PPO suit

Amelia Flood Oct. 23, 2009, 6:23am

A status conference is set next month in St. Clair County involving Swansea chiropractor Kathleen Roche's objection to the settlement of a competing preferred provider organization (PPO) class action in Madison County.

Attorneys for the class and the defendant in the Madison County case have pointed to the latest suit filed by Roche in August as a reason Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack should approve their settlement. As of Tuesday, Stack had not entered a ruling on that settlement's fairness.

Roche filed her latest suit against Zenith Insurance Company two days after the final fairness hearing on the settlement of a suit brought by chiropractors Lawrence Shipley and Richard Coy against First Health Insurance in Madison County.

Roche had objected to the settlement of that suit, claiming the $1.25 million the defendant would pay out to further medical education does not compensate the class and that it would scuttle a nearly identical suit she has pending in St. Clair County against the company.

The three suits allege that insurance companies took improper Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) discounts from health care providers' claims and were unjustly enriched.

The latest suit claims the same thing.

In an Oct. 2 motion, the Madison County plaintiffs argued that by bringing such a similar suit against another insurer so soon after the fairness hearing ended, Roche's attorneys had demonstrated they did not believe their own arguments as to why Stack should not give the go-ahead to the Shipley-Coy settlement.

Zenith Insurance Company has not yet filed its answer in the Roche suit.

A status conference is set before St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Roche is represented by Richard Burke and others in each of her suits.

No attorney is listed for Zenith.

The attorney for the plaintiff class in the Madison suit is Bradley Schmeider III.

Eric Brandfonbrener and Thomas Hennessy III represent First Health in the Madison suit.

The Zenith case is St. Clair County case number 08-L-667.

The Madison County case is case number 04-L-1055.

Roche's competing St. Clair County case that has played into the Madison County suit is 07-L-224.

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