Hartford class action gets prelim $10 million approval; attorneys could net $2.5 million

Steve Korris Apr. 15, 2010, 5:14am


LakinChapman class actions against insurers American Family and Hartford approach their conclusion.

On April 6, Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack granted preliminary approval to a $10 million settlement with Hartford in a case from 2000.

"It's been around a long time," Stack said. "It's got some whiskers on it."

Plaintiff Winnie Madison claims Hartford cheated accident victims on medical bills.

Robert Schmieder of LakinChapman told Stack that Hartford would provide $7.5 million for providers, insurers and beneficiaries, and $2.5 million in legal fees.

Stack congratulated both sides and ended the hearing.

Then he started another in a suit a few days older, against American Family.

He had certified a class action against American Family in 2002, but the former Lakin Law Firm didn't submit a class notice.

At the hearing, Andrew Kuhlmann of LakinChapman told Stack both sides were working informally on a notice, "full speed ahead."

Stack said he wasn't sure those words should be used in this case.

Kuhlmann said trial or other disposition would be swift.

He asked permission to serve interrogatories that would identify witnesses for depositions and relate to policy language and claim reviews.

For American Family, Tony Martin of St. Louis asked Stack not to distract his focus from the notice.

"Let's work on that and go from there," Martin said.

Stack asked for further briefs.

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