Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Third District Affirms Class Certification and Settlement

In Altamonte Springs Imaging, L.C. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (3D08-562 & 3D07-3009), the Third District affirmed the trial court's certification of a class and simultaneous approval of a settlement agreement. The settlement was being challenged by a class member, who did believed it could achieve better results through individual lawsuits. The court's conclusion is below:

In its effort to allow MRI providers reasonable annual inflationary adjustments based on changes in the CPI, the legislature inadvertently spawned competing interpretations and the potential for thousands of micro-lawsuits in which attorneys would recover far more than the adjustments payable to the MRI providers. The Open MRI-State Farm class action provided a vehicle for the efficient and statewide resolution of such claims against one of the largest PIP insurers. The trial court correctly certified the class, considered and approved the settlement, and approved an award of attorney’s fees and costs paid by the settling insurer (and not from the sums payable to class members). The provision for opt-outs allowed class member claimants, including ASI, to recover their CPI adjustments as computed in a fair interpretation of the controlling statute and to seek any other penalties, fees, or other amounts available by law.


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