The third and final fairness hearing in a class action suit over improper Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) discounts has been pushed back due to an attorney's flight schedule.

The third fairness hearing in the case of Shipley, Coy v. First Health has been moved to 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. It had been scheduled earlier.

The attorneys for the class and First Health will continue to ask Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to approve a settlement in the case while attorney Richard Burke will make arguments that the settlement is unfair to class members on behalf of his client, class member Kathleen Roche. Roche, a Swansea chiropractor, has a nearly identical suit pending against First Health in St. Clair County.

Roche claims the proposed settlement does not financially compensate class members and that it would derail her St. Clair County suit.

Burke will once again spar with a member of his former firm, the LakinChapman firm of Wood River, in this case.

The first fairness hearing in the case was heard in May. Stack continued that hearing after arguments ran over three hours. A second Fairness hearing in the case was postponed due to a packed asbestos docket.

The class action was filed by chiropractors Richard Coy and Lawrence Shipley on behalf of health care providers who may not have received all the monies due them due to First Health's allegedly improper PPO discounts.

The suit sought damages of not more than $75,000 per class member.
The pair are plaintiffs in several other pending class actions suits against other insurers for same thing.

Under the proposed settlement, Coy and Shipley would receive about $10,000 each and the Lakin law firm would receive over $600,000 in legal fees. First Health would also pay $1.25 million to non-profits to further medical education for health care providers.

First Health is represented by Eric Brandfonbrener. The class is represented by Robert Schmieder III.

The case is Madison case number 04-L-1055.

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