Quinn Emanuel's 'astronomical' $185 million fee award is thrown out by health insurers

Quinn Emanuel's 'astronomical' $185 million fee award is thrown out by health insurers ...

A group of health insurers in the United States has demanded that a federal appeals court scrape the $185 million legal fee award to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan for its efforts to pay $3.7 billion for class members in Obamacare litigation.

Over thirty insurers mostly under UnitedHealthcare Inc and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc have filed an appeal in the United States for the Federal Circuit on Thursday night. Quinn Emanuel's 10,000 hours did not warrant such a substantial award.

Quinn Emanuel, a group of insurers, was the first to file a lawsuit against the US government for failing to make certain payments under an Obamacare program designed to encourage private health insurers to provide coverage to uninsured Americans.

For insurers, the US Supreme Court predicted that it would pay more than $12 billion in 2020.

The plaintiff's counsel should be "paid fairly," according to Moe Keshavarzi, a lawyer for the opposing insurers, but it did not deserve the "astronomical award" the lower court has granted. That award amounted to an $18,000 hourly fee, according to Keshavarzi.

Lawyers for UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Foundation believe that the lower judge should have applied a "cross-check" on Quinn Emanuel's fee, based on the number of hours worked.

The insurers' lawyers have urged the Federal Circuit to take the dispute as a substitute for judgeship guidelines to appoint the judge to weigh requirements for fees.

Keshavarzi did not immediately respond to a letter on Friday seeking comment, and a senior lawyer for Quinn Emanuel, Stephen Swedlow, did not immediately respond to a similar request. "We are very proud of our work on these cases and with the results we obtained," Swedlow said in 2020.

Quinn Emanuel claims that the litigation was "substantial risk," given the lack of precedent, government shortcomings, and risk of nonrecovery. But the firm was not lead counsel at the Supreme Court, and class counsel never had to take a single deposition, according to attorneys for UnitedHealth and Kaiser Foundation.

Quinn Emanuel's attorneys have proposed an $8.8 million compensation package last year, which is considered a "generous and legally defensible fee."

The case is based on Health Republic Insurance Company, v. United States, and the United States Court of Federal Claims, No. 16-cv-00259.

Stephen Swedlow and J.D. Horton of Quinn Emanuel are both students in the class.

Moe Keshavarzi of Sheppard Mullin, the objectors of the class, is a former member of the Sheppard Mullin.

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