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Health Insurance Litigators D. Brian Hufford and Jason S. Cowart Join Zuckerman Spaeder LLP’s New York Office 

January 15, 2014

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is pleased to announce that D. Brian Hufford and Jason S. Cowart will join its New York office as partners. The two highly experienced attorneys add significant depth to Zuckerman Spaeder’s work in the areas of health care and insurance litigation. Mr. Hufford and Mr. Cowart have developed a nationally renowned, ground-breaking practice representing health care providers and patients in disputes with health insurance companies. They represent doctors, hospitals, medical equipment companies, and associations in matters that implicate various state and federal laws, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

“As we continue to explore the rights and remedies created by new laws such as the Affordable Care Act and Mental Health Parity Act, we look forward to working with the tremendous talent at Zuckerman Spaeder. There is no doubt that our partnership with the firm will advance the interests of our clients and other health care providers and patients,” said Mr. Hufford. “The firm’s renowned litigators and experienced appellate lawyers will be key to the continued growth of our practice.”

Mr. Hufford brings extraordinary experience in insurance and health care matters under ERISA and related federal and state laws, having led litigation that resulted in two of the largest recoveries ever obtained in health insurance class actions. His work on litigation against United Healthcare led to a $350 million settlement, and in a similar action against Health Net, resulted in a $250 million settlement. Mr. Hufford also served as co-lead counsel in other national health care litigation against United, Aetna, WellPoint, CIGNA, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield entities. Recently, Mr. Hufford successfully argued health care appeals before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Third and Fifth Circuits, and was lead counsel in two recent trials against Blue Cross and Blue Shield entities on behalf of providers and provider associations. He has been recognized in industry rankings such as Benchmark Litigation and Super Lawyers.

Mr. Cowart is a health insurance litigator who has advanced legal theories concerning providers’ ERISA rights and the ability of member-based associations to pursue related claims. In a recent case against a Blue Cross Blue Shield entity concerning retroactive claim denials, he utilized these theories to dramatically expand the notice and appeal rights of thousands of health care providers. Mr. Cowart is currently prosecuting cases against large national health insurers challenging their mental health-related coverage determination guidelines, utilization review protocols, and standards for applying experimental/investigational policy exclusions. Mr. Cowart has helped secure significant monetary recoveries, corporate governance reforms, and profound changes in the law for the benefit of health care providers and patients.

“We could not be more pleased to welcome Brian and Jason to the firm. They add significant experience and capacity to our contingency fee practice and broaden the services we can offer to existing and future health care clients. Bringing Brian and Jason to the firm is an important step in the expansion of the firm’s practice areas and the New York office,” said Zuckerman Spaeder chairman Graeme W. Bush.

The arrival of Mr. Hufford and Mr. Cowart continues Zuckerman Spaeder’s growth in New York, which most recently includes the addition of partner Jason R. Lilien, former New York State Charities Bureau Chief. Other recent and notable additions to the office include Steven M. Cohen, who served as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top advisor and as his Chief of Staff in the Attorney General’s Office; Barbara S. Jones, a former judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; Mitra Hormozi, former chair of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity and former Chief of the Organized Crime Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York; and respected litigator and appellate lawyer Paul Shechtman.

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