TOPEKA – (December 30, 2016) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has joined a bi-partisan coalition of 14 state attorneys general in filing a brief in federal court to protect Kansas consumers from abuse in the class action settlement process.
In the friend-of-the-court brief filed earlier this month, Schmidt asked the court to reject a proposed class action settlement because the vast majority of the class members receive nothing of particular value from the deal, even as the class action attorneys collect almost $3 million.
“Consumers should come first in the class action settlement process,” Schmidt said. “In this case, the proposed settlement is not fair or reasonable and bargains away the claims of the class members. As part of our consumer protection role, our office maintains a watchful eye on proposed class action settlements that do not actually benefit the consumers they purport to protect.”
The class action lawsuit alleged that United Healthcare improperly denied class members coverage for the ground-breaking hepatitis C treatment Harvoni. Under the settlement, consumers lose not just the claims against United Healthcare made in the class action, but any claims relating in any way to any hepatitis C drug or the hepatitis C virus more generally. In exchange for this sweeping release of their claims, the vast majority of the class members receive nothing of particular value. Instead, these consumers receive only the continued opportunity to benefit from changes to the approval standards for Harvoni that United Healthcare already implemented in 2016.
In filing the brief objecting to the settlement agreement in Jones v. United Healthcare, which is pending in federal court in Florida but would have nationwide effect, Schmidt emphasized the important role state attorneys general and courts must play in advocating for consumers within class action settlements.
The states filing the amicus brief are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.
A copy of the brief can be found here: http://bit.ly/2hAzayo.