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Judge rules ASC should have access to malpractice insurer data to discover potential bias: 5 things to know

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole will allow a Chicago-based ASC to pursue documents from the American Physicians Assurance Corp. — the medical malpractice insurer that worked with the center after a 2003 incident at the center that lead to a malpractice suit — to discover whether the company had an incentive in place that worked against the center's best interest, according to a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin report.

Here are five things to know:

1. APAC chose Lowis & Gellen as the defense counsel. One of the defense attorneys allegedly told APAC the plaintiff had a 90 percent chance of winning the case and the surgery center requested APAC accept the plaintiff's $1 million settlement offer. APAC declined to settle and the case went to trial, ultimately awarding the plaintiff $5.2 million.

2. The center seeks information about the bonus incentives for APAC's adjusters and defense attorneys, claiming the program might "favor the insurance company's interests" and seeks punitive damages in an excess judgment case, according to the report.

3. APAC objected to handing over the information requested, citing a deposition in a separate 2007 case, where the company's vice president of claims said the bonus program for adjusters was based on overall company performance, not based on claim outcomes

4. Judge Cole ruled the center should have access to that information and not be forced to "rely on the questioning by an unknown attorney in a different case at a 2009 deposition in a case from 2007 in Kentucky."

5. Judge Cole ruled the Surgery Center is entitled to know fees paid to the attorneys and data relating to bad faith claims against APAC going back four years; the surgery center initially asked for information spanning the seven-year period between 2003 and 2010.

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