Mudge takes disputed Bemis-Cincinnati class action settlement claim under advisement

Amelia Flood Jan. 19, 2011, 3:51am


The parties attempting to hammer out a disputed settlement worth more than $500,000 in a 2005 class action against Cincinnati Casualty Company and Cincinnati Insurance, have more time to file additional paperwork.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge had originally given the Cincinnati defendants and the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI) until Jan. 14 to file additional papers.

Cincinnati asked for the extension Jan. 13 citing "an unexpectedly heavy litigation schedule."

The new deadline is Jan. 21.

IBJI was part of a class of 32,000 Illinois health care providers that lead plaintiff Frank Bemis claimed had been gypped out of money they were owed for treating workers' compensation cases.

The 2005 class action alleged that the defendants unfairly took Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) discounts they were not entitled to.

Bemis, a chiropractor, has helmed a number of nearly identical cases filed within the last decade.

He was originally represented by attorneys from both the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River and the Chicago firm of Freed & Weiss.

That partnership ended in 2007.

The Lakin firm – now called LakinChapman LLC – represents the class.

The Cincinnati settlement was worth up to $3.5 million.

Lead counsel Bradley Lakin and Robert Schmieder III were awarded more than $700,000 in fees.

Bemis, as lead representative, got $5,000.

IBJI initially submitted a settlement claim worth about $458,000.

The defendants paid $57,000 of that claim and denied the rest, claiming that spreadsheets provided by IBJI were not the proper claim documentation.

IBJI then discovered what it claims were more claims that were wrongly discounted.

That brought its total settlement claim to over $500,000.

Cincinnati denied the new claim last March.

IBJI is asking that its claim be paid.

The defendants counter that they can expect class members to follow the documentation protocols and deny those claims that don't.

After hearing arguments on the matter Dec. 17, Mudge took the issue under advisement.

Omar Odland represents the defense.

The case was previously assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder and former Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

The case is Madison case number 05-L-178.

More News