Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack certified a LakinChapman class action against Employers Mutual Casualty on Aug. 16.

Illinois health care providers who treated workers compensation patients may belong to the class if Employers reduced payments before reimbursing them.

Stack appointed chiropractor Frank Bemis as class representative.

He appointed LakinChapman and the Campbell & McGrady firm as class counsel.

"The attorneys from LakinChapman LLC have regularly engaged in major complex litigation of the size, scope, and complexity similar to this case and have successfully prosecuted and settled many and varied class actions and other complex litigation," Stack wrote.

Bemis sued Employers in 2005, just before the effective date of a reform law that steered most new class actions to federal courts.

Bemis claimed Employers took discounts through preferred provider organization First Health but didn't meet an obligation to steer patients to providers.

Employers filed a third party claim against claims processor Fair Isaac, seeking indemnity and contribution.

Employers offered Bemis $48 to settle his claim, and he turned it down.

Andrew Kuhlmann of LakinChapman wrote, "In addition to reimbursement of all PPO reductions, plaintiff requests an award of attorney's fees under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act."

"Moreover, discovery may establish that there are additional First health PPO reductions that Employers took from plaintiff improperly," he wrote.

Stack held a class certification hearing in April and reached a decision in four months.

He set the class period to start on Feb. 1, 2004.

"Employers used the same process to re-price medical bills for Illinois workers compensation claims during the class period," Stack wrote.

"Employers employed a systematic, automatic, and uniform process to take PPO discounts on medical bills relating to Illinois worker compensations," he wrote.

Ted Harvey of Belleville represents Employers.

Richard Lageson of Clayton represents Fair Isaac.

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