Lawyers to seek medical, financial records in class action against Safeco

Steve Korris Apr. 22, 2010, 1:40am



Lawyers will get to read private medical and financial records of strangers as they decide who joins a multi-state class action against insurer Safeco.

On April 14, two LakinChapman lawyers and two for Safeco asked Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder to protect patient records from everyone but them.

"If disclosed and made available to the public in the absence of a protective order, such disclosure could violate patient policy rights under federal and state law," they wrote.

"Such documents and information to be provided or exchanged by the parties or non-parties and other discovery (including oral depositions) may contain or refer to such information or other material that may be private and confidential," they wrote.

They wrote they may seek information on patient health and confidential services. They may also seek personally identifiable financial information, policyholder information and other private and confidential information.

Jonathan Piper and Andrew Kuhlmann of LakinChapman proposed the order along with Cari Dawson and Tiffany Powers, of Alston and Bird in Atlanta, for Safeco.

Last year, Crowder certified chiropractor Ryan Bemis to represent a class claiming Safeco improperly reduced medical payouts under property and casualty policies.

The class includes any person Safeco insured in 14 states since 1997, if the person submitted a claim that Safeco reduced through Ingenix software.

Crowder gathered Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and West Virginia into the action.

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