American Family says plaintiff concealed conflict as class action leader; Insurer seeks to decertify 11-year-old case

Steve Korris Aug. 25, 2011, 10:00am



Iowa chiropractor Mark Kruse concealed a conflict of interest as a leader of class actions in his own state and Madison County, according to American Family Insurance.

In a brief for Circuit Judge William Mudge on Aug. 16, the insurer claimed Kruse's action in Iowa was replete with accusations against doctors he represents in the Madison County action.

Anthony Martin of St. Louis wrote that class counsel at LakinChapman should have disclosed the Iowa action at least three years ago.

He wrote that in 2008, Kruse objected to an interrogatory about other suits and wrote, "none."

Martin wrote that Kruse never supplemented the response.

He wrote that this June, Kruse produced a pleading from Polk County, Iowa, in a suit against Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

He wrote that class counsel marked it confidential, adding that he found it curious.

He wrote that the case awaits oral argument at the Iowa Supreme Court.

He wrote that Kruse has a conflict with at least 95 percent of medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy in Iowa.

He wrote that Kruse and others accuse Wellmark of conspiring and combining with providers to boycott chiropractors and discriminate against them.

"Kruse obviously has a conflict with all non-chiropractic providers in Iowa as well as all of those in Blue Cross and Blue Shield member company preferred provider organizations outside the state of Iowa," he wrote.

American Family seeks to decertify a class action that retired Judge Daniel Stack certified.

The former Lakin Law Firm sued on behalf of Manuel Hernandez in 2000, claiming American Family improperly reduced payments for treatment of injuries from car crashes.

Stack certified a class in 2002, for 11 states, on claims back to 1990.

Hernandez died in 2004, but Stack continued to hold hearings and sign orders.

In 2006, American Family notified Stack that Hernandez died.

The insurer pleaded that the case died with him, but Stack allowed substitution of Kruse and others.

This June, American Family filed a decertification motion under seal.

Martin didn't seal his Aug. 16 brief.

Mudge set a status conference Sept. 2, but generally continued all pending motions.

Martin practices at Sandberg Phoenix and von Gontard.

Andrew Ryan and Timothy Sansone, both of the same firm, worked on the brief.

More News