Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and a proposed class of 371 patients it treated for motor vehicle accident injuries received preliminary approval of a settlement involving claims the health-care provider overcharged them, a federal court in Florida said.
The class was reasonably defined and met all the prerequisites for class certification, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida said Tuesday.
Additionally, the total settlement amount of just over $1 million appeared to be adequate, except for the amounts allocated to an incentive fee for the named plaintiff and for class counsel’s attorneys’ fees, the court said.
A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit barred the incentive payment, it said. And the court appeared skeptical that the attorneys were entitled to the full amount of the fees they sought.
Both issues will be finally determined at a fairness hearing prior to final approval on Jan. 20, 2021, the court said.
Florida law prohibits medical providers who treat patients covered by personal injury protection insurance from charging insurers more than a reasonable amount for their services. Insurers may limit the amount they pay to 80% of the statutorily defined maximum charge, and a provider may not bill a patient for the rest.
Natalie Kuhr sued Mayo and a collection agency, Professional Service Bureau Inc., under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. She alleged the defendants violated the law by balance billing patients whose medical care was covered by personal injury protection insurance.
Judge Marcia Morales Howard issued the order.
Zebersky & Payne LLP represents the proposed class. Foley & Lardner LLP represents Mayo and Professional.
The case is Kuhr v. Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, M.D. Fla., No. 3:19-cv-453, 10/6/20.