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Mobile, Alabama

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Pete Mackey
Pete Mackey
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UnitedHealth Settlement – Not So Fast Says Plaintiffs' Lawyer

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UnitedHealth’s $350,000,000 settlement is not enough money, says a lawyer for some of the plaintiffs in that case:

“We believe the amount agreed to is inadequate and does not reflect as meaningful a settlement as could be negotiated,” said the lawyer, Barbara Quackenbos, whose firm is one of several handling the cases on behalf of patients and doctors.

UnitedHealth took issue with Ms. Quackenbos’s position:

[T]he company issued a statement: “This agreement was the product of vigorous arm’s-length negotiations and is supported by the American Medical Association, the Medical Society of New York and experienced class counsel. The New York attorney general commented favorably on the settlement today. We are confident the agreement will be approved by the court.”

While it is not unusual for there to be objections to a proposed class-action settlement, it is unusual for a class-action settlement of this magnitude to be resolved so soon after filing. Generally, extensive discovery (depositions and document production) and motion practice is conducted before each side is able to properly evaluate the value of a given settlement. For instance, Ms. Quackenbos’s firm represented the plaintiffs in a class action approved earlier this year by one of the same judges involved in this case. According to Pacer, the federal court case management system, the earlier case was filed in January of 2005 and a proposed settlement was not reached until last summer. It looks like this matter is far from over.