Zuckerman Spaeder’s Class Action Practice Recognized with Top Award from The National Law Journal

Zuckerman Spaeder is pleased to announce that its Class Action practice has been recognized as “Highly Commended” in The National Law Journal’s 2022 Litigation Firm of the Year: Class Action category. The firm had been named as one of six finalists in the category before being singled out for this honor, one of the most sought-after awards within the legal industry.

“We’re extremely proud of our successes in a number of high-profile and impactful class action matters in 2021,” said Zuckerman Spaeder chairperson and partner Dwight P. Bostwick. “Our work in the NFL Concussion litigation helped expose and end the practice of “race-norming” in the administration of the settlement. This success helped shine a light on implicit and explicit bias in medical assessments generally. Similarly, our work representing mental health patients and medical providers has helped expose and remedy inequities and unfairness in the treatment and reimbursement of mental health conditions. Our firm continues to commit substantial resources to these efforts based on our belief that it is important for top litigation firms like ours to be creative and dogged advocates for social justice.”

Among the most notable recent wins came from a lawsuit challenging the National Football League’s use of race-based norms as part of the 2015 concussion settlement. On behalf of two Black NFL retirees, Zuckerman Spaeder brought a class action case claiming that by applying different sets of data based on race when processing ex-players’ “cognitive function” test scores, the NFL made it harder for Black retirees to receive benefits. 

While the NFL initially fought back against these claims, it eventually reversed course – agreeing to a settlement that eliminates the use of race-based norms and allows Black retirees to be re-scored under a new system. Importantly, the lawsuit’s impact is being felt well beyond professional sports and it has sparked a broad re-examination of the use of race-based norms. As one example, The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychologists recently called for "the elimination of race as a variable in demographically-based normative test interpretation.”

Zuckerman Spaeder also achieved several wins as part of its ongoing national effort to hold health insurance companies accountable for improper and discriminatory practices. In one case, the firm brought a class action lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group for a reimbursement policy that unfairly reduced payments for certain out-of-network behavioral health services provided by psychologists, masters-level counselors, and social workers. The firm obtained an extraordinary settlement providing monetary and injunctive relief for a class of more than 110,000 mental health patients.

While Zuckerman Spaeder’s mental health work has captured national attention, the firm also obtained important class action wins for health care providers. In 2021, it delivered two significant rulings in lawsuits challenging insurers’ abusive repayment demands and use of “cross-plan offsets” – two insurance industry practices that deprive out-of-network providers of compensation for their services and severely undermine their ability to manage their businesses. These legal wins have severely weakened insurers’ ability to use these deceptive and highly lucrative practices.

Zuckerman Spaeder’s national Plaintiffs and Class Actions practice encompasses a broad spectrum of subject matters and industries representing creditors’ committees, states, businesses, classes, individuals, and groups. Over the last decade, the firm has worked on numerous other impactful cases, including representing over 1,700 victims of child sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy proceeding, sexually abused children and their families in an action against the Mormon Church, and terrorism victims and their families against various international banks. 

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Katie Munroe
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