Andrew Goldfarb Recognized as a Plaintiffs’ Trailblazer by National Law Journal
Zuckerman Spaeder is pleased to announce that the National Law Journal (NLJ) has named partner Andrew N. Goldfarb a 2022 Plaintiffs’ Trailblazer. Through the various inaugural Trailblazer special supplements, the NLJ recognizes legal professionals who are “agents of change” and have made “significant marks” in their practice.
Mr. Goldfarb is an accomplished litigator who handles significant disputes and regulatory actions on behalf of individuals, classes, and public health groups. Specifically, he works to hold insurance companies accountable for abusive health insurance practices that target patients and providers, and to protect public health by fighting for meaningful regulation of tobacco products. His trailblazing work has helped to empower patients and health care providers by increasing the accessibility of affordable products and services to patients.
Mr. Goldfarb has achieved recent wins against unfair insurer policies that impact patient access to essential behavioral health services. He recently helped lead a challenge to UnitedHealth’s policy of reducing payments for certain out-of-network behavioral health services as a violation of ERISA and the federal mental health parity laws. The case resulted in an extraordinary $10 million settlement on behalf of a class of 110,000 patients, and United’s commitment not to reinstate the challenged reimbursement policy.
In other class actions, Mr. Goldfarb challenged insurers’ refusal to cover transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), an FDA-approved treatment for treatment-resistant depression. The lawsuits alleged that the insurers’ internal policies classifying TMS as “experimental” conflicted with the written terms of its plans. These cases also resulted in the insurers changing their policies, and provided significant monetary recoveries for the settlement class members.
In working for providers, Mr. Goldfarb helped successfully challenge “cross-plan offsetting,” a practice by which insurers exploit their role as claims administrators for many plans to engage in “self-help” to recover alleged overpayments. IN these cases, courts have found that cross-plan offsetting conflicts with plan terms and/or the insurers’ fiduciary obligations under ERISA.
Mr. Goldfarb told NLJ, “By using litigation to hold insurers accountable in cases like these, we aim to compel compliance with federal mental health parity laws and ERISA, and thereby move our society closer to true equity of care for behavioral and substance use disorders.”
Mr. Goldfarb has also spent decades working on matters related to tobacco control to protect the public health. He currently represents a leading anti-tobacco advocacy group in its efforts to ensure effective regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, as required by the 2009 Tobacco Control Act. Before joining Zuckerman Spaeder, he spent six years as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, where he prosecuted the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) action against the tobacco industry that resulted in a 1,650-page opinion finding the defendants liable for RICO violations.