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Managed care companies think that the maxim “do no harm” doesn’t apply to them, at least according to some doctors. In late September a federal judge in Miami granted class certification to a group of doctors on RICO conspiracy, breach of contract, and state “prompt pay” statutory claims that they’ve brought against the biggest names in health care. The doctors allege that the managed care companies process claims in a way that is deliberately designed to delay or deny payments. Plaintiffs lawyers in the case estimate that 600,000 — 700,000 doctors who have practiced medicine in the United States since 1990 are eligible for membership in the class. The managed care companies have appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. But two defendants, PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc., and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated, have already scored a small win of their own. In a previous ruling, the district court found — and the Eleventh Circuit agreed — that mandatory arbitration provisions in contracts between doctors and these two companies are unen-forceable with regard to the RICO claims. In October, however, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will consider PacifiCare and UnitedHealth’s appeal of this specifc ruling. The first suits in the litigation were filed in multiple states in 1999 and 2000. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the suits in Miami federal court in April 2000. The state medical associations of California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana are participating in the litigation. In addition to PacifiCare and UnitedHealth, the other companies named in the suit include Aetna Inc.; Anthem, Inc.; CIGNA Corporation; Coventry Health Care, Inc.; Health Net, Inc.; Humana Inc.; Prudential Insurance Company of America; and WellPoint Health Networks Inc. The Miami federal court judge in the case denied class action status in a related suit by patients who were covered by managed care health plans. (Due to space limitations, only co — lead plaintiffs counsel and defense counsel that have been most active in the doctors’ case are listed.) For plaintiffs Doctors and State Medical Associations n Law Offices of Archie Lamb (Birmingham): Archie Lamb, of counsel Barbara Olschner, and associate A. David Fawal. Lamb, co — lead counsel, was recommended for this case by counsel in the separate patients’ litigation because of his previous success in tobacco litigation. n Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton (Miami): Adam Moskowitz, Harley Tropin, and of counsel Janet Humphreys. Co — lead counsel Tropin was selected because of his success in several securities fraud class action suits in Florida. For defendant Aetna Inc. (Hartford) n Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (Los Angeles): Richard Doren, Miguel Estrada, Kay Kochenderfer, Daniel Nelson, John Swenson, Mark Weber, of counsel Kevin Nowicki, and associates Antoinette DeCamp, Thomas Dupree, Mark Moller, Cambria Smith, and Andrew Tulumello. (Estrada, Nelson, DeCamp, Dupree, Moller, and Tulumello are in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office; Nowicki is in Irvine, California.) The firm, which has long represented Aetna, won this representation in a beauty contest. n Greenberg Traurig (Miami): Hilarie Bass, Mark Schnapp, and associate Christine Nanfeldt. The firm, which has previously worked for the company, won the work in a beauty contest. For defendant Humana Inc. (Louisville) n O’Melveny & Myers (Los Angeles): John Beisner, Brian Boyle, Robert Eccles, Linda Smith, of counsel Brian Brooks, and associates Paul Horwitz, Kelly Riordan, and Garrett Wotkyns. ERISA: Karen Wahle and of counsel Gregory Porter. (All are in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, except Smith, who is in Los Angeles.) The firm has long represented Humana. For defendant PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. (Santa Ana, California) n Cooley Godward (Palo Alto): William Grauer, Christopher Pace, Anita Stork, and associates Chaise Bivin, Guillermo Cabrera, Whitty Somvichian, and Meghan Spieker. (All are in the firm’s San Diego office except Stork and Somvichian, who are in San Francisco.) The firm is PacifiCare’s regular outside counsel. For defendant UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (Minnetonka, Minnesota) n Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York): Jeffrey Klein, Lori Pines, James Quinn, Edward Soto, of counsel Nicholas Pappas, and associates Edward Burke, Ardith Bronson, P. Christine Dorney, Kenneth Gavsie, Brian Kemper, Beth Lemberger, and Kathleen Mank. (Soto, Bronson, Dorney, and Mank are in the firm’s Miami office.) The firm is UnitedHealth Group’s lead outside counsel. OUTLOOK Counsel for PacifiCare and UnitedHealth expect the Supreme Court to hear arguments on the mandatory arbitration provision in February. — Jeffery Knight

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