Fifth District set to hear arguments in local chiropractors' case against Travelers



The Fifth District Appellate Court is slated to hear arguments next week in a Madison County case that has been bouncing between the courts since 2005.

The court’s oral argument schedule shows that the case – Coy Chiropractor Health Center Inc., et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Co., et al. – will go before a panel of the appellate court at 11 a.m. Monday.

The case dates back to 2005, when local chiropractors Richard Coy and Frank Bemis sued Travelers on behalf of themselves, their respective practices and similarly situated licensed healthcare providers.

The plaintiffs claimed that Travelers discounted their workers’ compensation bills under a preferred provider plan without steering patients to them by offering financial incentives.

They had entered in contracts with First Health to participate in a preferred provider network, in which they agreed to accept discounted reimbursements from insurance companies that contracted with First Health and its predecessor, Community Care Network.

The suit, which was removed to federal court in 2006 and remanded back to Madison County the following year, alleged violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, as well as claims of unjust enrichment and breach of contract.

In 2008, now-retired Circuit Judge Daniel Stack entered an order granting the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The Fifth District denied Travelers’ petition for leave to appeal, but the Illinois Supreme Court issued a supervisory order in 2009 directing the appellate court to consider the case.

The appeals panel in 2011 reversed Stack’s order granting class certification and remanded for further proceedings.  The court two months later issued a modified opinion upon the denial of a rehearing.

Justices Stephen Spomer, Bruce Stewart and James Wexstten made up the panel.

Circuit Judge William Mudge in January, according to the court’s records website, denied the plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file a second amended complaint and entered judgment in favor of the defendants.

It is unclear exactly what the focus of next week’s arguments before the Fifth District will be.

Messages left for Troy Bozarth, one of the attorneys who represented Travelers at the appellate court level, and Robert Schmieder, who represented the plaintiffs before the Fifth District, were not returned.

Besides Bozarth of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville, the last appellate court opinion lists Jill Sundberg, also of HeplerBroom, and Chicago attorneys Robert Johnson, Jeffrey Lenard, Steven Levy and Lisa Lilly as Travelers’ attorneys.

And in addition to Schmieder, an attorney at LakinChapman, Jonathan Piper and Andrew Kuhlmann, also of LakinChapman, as well as Godfrey attorney Timothy Campbell represent the plaintiffs.

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