Case management set in May, decision still pending on summary judgment moves in Liberty Mutual PPO class action

Amelia Flood Apr. 4, 2011, 3:46am

Schmieder II

A May case management conference is set in a class action over Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) discounts.

Meanwhile, Madison County Circuit Dennis Ruth continues to hold summary judgment moves filed by lead plaintiff Thomas Kaltenbronn and defendant Liberty Mutual under advisement.

Ruth heard arguments on the motions in a nearly six hour hearing Jan. 28.

The order setting the suit for further case management May 25 at 9 a.m. was entered March 30.

Kaltenbronn is leading a class of health care providers who claim that the insurance company took PPO discounts from workers' compensation claims that it was not entitled to.

The suit also contends that Liberty Mutual did not deliver on promises to direct more patients to members of the PPO.

The meaning of the word "direct" under the statutes dealing with Illinois insurance law and workers' compensation law took up significant time during the Jan. 28 arguments.

The suit is one of a number filed in the early part of the last decade by the Lakin Law Firm – now LakinChapman of Wood River – and Freed & Weiss of Chicago.

The partnership dissolved in 2007.

LakinChapman attorney Robert Schmieder II argued that Liberty Mutual was responsible for failing to deliver on its promises under the state's law governing PPOs at the January hearing.

Ruth, drawing on his own experience as a workers' compensation attorney and head of the state's Workers' Compensation Commission, questioned Schmieder II at length during the hearing.

Liberty Mutual attorney Thomas Keefe Jr. argued that his company had offered the incentives it could to PPO members – namely information-related services – but that the state's workers' compensation law limited how the company can "direct" patients to PPO members.

Ruth took the moves under advisement and the parties submitted proposed orders in March.

The case is Madison case number 04-L-1406.

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