A managed care company has taken a step toward beating back a class-action lawsuit.
A 3-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a 2-sentence opinion upholding a lower-court ruling in favor of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., and against the plaintiffs, a class representing doctors who had treated UnitedHealth managed care plan patients.
The courts consolidated the UnitedHealth case with a wave of other managed care suits in Miami under U.S. District Court Judge Federico Moreno. Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the cases accused UnitedHealth and the other managed care companies of conspiring to hold down doctors’ compensation.
The other major defendants in the litigation have negotiated settlements. The settlements call for the companies to pay tens of millions of dollars into settlement funds and to change the way they work with doctors.
But Moreno dismissed all claims in the case against UnitedHealth in June 2006, and the new 11th Circuit ruling has upheld that decision.
“The judgment of the district court is affirmed for the reasons set out in the district court’s order granting summary judgment,” the court writes in the brief opinion explaining its ruling.