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$7.9 million award upheld in class action against insurance companies

A federal court upheld the award of $7.9 million in damages to a class of plaintiff cancer patients for breach of contract by two insurance companies.

The appellate court’s decision is the second in favor of the plaintiffs as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit previously granted summary judgment in the cancer patients favor in Ward v. Dixie Nat. Life Ins. Co., 257 F. App’x 620 (4th Cir. 2007). That decision held that the insurance companies were obligated to pay plaintiffs the “actual” charges made by their medical providers for cancer treatment, not the lower reimbursement amount negotiated by their primary insurers and remanded for a damages hearing.

After the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina awarded the plaintiff class $7.9 million, the defendants, Dixie National Life Insurance Company and National Foundation Life Insurance Company, took appeal. The Fourth Circuit’s decision, published at Ward v. Dixie Nat. Life Ins. Co., 595 F.3d 164 (4th Cir. 2010), affirmed the District Court’s judgment.

Richard A. Harpootlian, P.A. represented the plaintiffs along with Tobias G. Ward, Jr. of Todd & Ward PC.

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