SAN FRANCISCO–LAWFUEL –The Honorable Richard A. Kramer of the Sa…

SAN FRANCISCO–LAWFUEL –The Honorable Richard A. Kramer of the San Francisco Superior Court granted final approval today to a class action settlement resolving claims regarding pricing and collection practices for over 780,000 uninsured patients at all of Catholic Healthcare West’s affiliate hospitals.

As part of the settlement, Class members will be entitled to make a claim for refunds or bill reductions of 35% from their prior hospital bills. For the next four years, Catholic Healthcare West (“CHW”) hospitals have also agreed to maintain discounted pricing policies for uninsured patients that will make CHW’s pricing for uninsured patients comparable to the pricing for patients with private insurance. In addition, CHW has agreed to maintain more compassionate collections policies that will protect uninsureds who fall behind in their payments. The settlement benefits have been valued at approximately $423 million.

The claims process under the settlement is ongoing. Claim forms are available online at the settlement website,, and the deadline to submit claims is March 8, 2007.

The Settlement Class includes all persons who:

* Received hospital services from a CHW-affiliated hospital between July 1, 2001 and September 25, 2006;
* At the time of treatment, were uninsured and had annual household income at or below $250,000.

“This settlement provides much-needed relief to hundreds of thousands of uninsured patients by substantially reducing their past medical bills and ensuring that in the future CHW maintains reasonable prices for all uninsured patients,” said Plaintiffs’ attorney Kelly M. Dermody, of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, in San Francisco, California. Co-counsel Sidney A. Backstrom of the Scruggs Law Firm added, “We are pleased that the Court granted final approval to this settlement, which not only secures fair pricing for uninsured patients, but also protects them from unfair and overly aggressive collections practices.”

The lawsuit was filed by two uninsured patients on behalf of themselves and all uninsured patients at CHW-affiliated hospitals in California, Nevada and Arizona. The original complaint, filed in October 2005, alleged that CHW charged uninsured patients excessive and unfair prices for medical treatment and engaged in aggressive and unfair collections practices. CHW denied wrongdoing and liability in the case.

Lead Counsel for named plaintiffs and class members are Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Sidney A. Backstrom of the Scruggs Law Firm. More information about the settlement can be found at, or by calling the contacts listed below.

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is a sixty attorney, AV-rated law firm founded in 1972 with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser has served as court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Lead or Class Counsel in state and federal coordinated, multi-district, and complex litigation throughout the United States. Lieff Cabraser has litigated and resolved thousands of individual lawsuits and hundreds of class and group actions, including some of the most important civil cases in the United States over the last decade.

Lieff Cabraser enjoys a national reputation for professional integrity and the successful prosecution of our clients’ claims. In every year since 2003, the National Law Journal has selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs’ law firms in the nation. In compiling the list, the National Law Journal examined recent verdicts and settlements in addition to overall track records. Lieff Cabraser is one of only three plaintiffs’ law firms in the United States to receive this honor for the last four consecutive years.

About the Scruggs Firm

One of our nation’s foremost class-action attorneys, Richard Scruggs received international acclaim for his landmark suit against the tobacco industry. The suit culminated in the industry’s payment of $246 billion to help states defray Medicaid costs for smoking–related illnesses. Scruggs has been lead counsel in numerous other class actions and causes of national significance as well, including the national class actions against Lehman Brothers and The Money Store for aiding and abetting predatory lending; the $1.1 billion settlement in the Sulzer Orthopedics, Inc. Hip Prosthesis and Knee Prosthesis Liability Litigation; and seven suits against America’s health maintenance organizations, charging them with interfering with patient treatment.

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