Lawyers for some 900,000 physicians won a victory in a long-running lawsuit against the nation's largest managed-care companies after a federal judge upheld the doctors' right to seek monetary damages under federal antiracketeering laws. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami rejected motions by the insurers seeking to dismiss the doctors' claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which allows triple damages. The doctors allege that the insurers routinely delayed, reduced or denied payment for medical services and often refused to allow the physicians to carry out the procedures they thought best. The defendants still are awaiting an important ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which is considering the insurers' motion to overturn an earlier ruling by Moreno granting class-action status to the case. The trial is set to begin in June 2004. -- by Laura B. Benko
Judge: HMOs can be sued under racketeering law
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