A Connecticut state judge last week denied a plea by uninsured patients seeking class certification in a 2003 lawsuit filed against Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital and Bridgeport (Conn.) Hospital, part of the Yale-New Haven Health System. While Superior Court Judge Dennis Eveleigh's ruling does not end the litigation, it does represent a victory for the hospitals and a blow to attorneys for the uninsured patients filing the lawsuit. The nine named plaintiffs, former patients of the hospitals, alleged that they were overcharged for services and subjected to unfair and aggressive debt collection practices in violation of state law. Further, they argued that while they were eligible for charity care, the hospitals did not notify them of the availability of that care. Eveleigh agreed with the hospitals that the individualized issues "are so extensive that they substantially outweigh any efficiencies that might be achieved by adjudicating common questions of law or fact in a class action," compelling the named plaintiffs to try their case without the benefit of any large class of patients. Dan Livingston, an attorney representing the uninsured patients, said, "The fight will go on. There's no question. We'll continue. We disagree with the judge's decision and are deciding whether to appeal." At deadline, officials with Yale-New Haven Health System could not be reached for comment. -- by Mark Taylor
Class-action status denied in Yale-New Haven case
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