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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Concentra Health Services will pay $8 million and retrain claims adjusters and other employees to settle a class action lawsuit tied to their handling of workers compensation claims in Colorado.
Plaintiffs in the case sued in 2009 alleging that Wal-Mart's casualty claims management unit and Concentra interfered with the judgment of certain medical providers and dictated and controlled the treatment provided to injured workers.
On Tuesday, Judge Robert E. Blackburn of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, granted final approval for settlement of the case, Josephine Gianzero et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., involving 13,521 class members.
Wal-Mart and its claims management unit, Claims Management Inc., will pay out $4 million, according to a joint statement from the defendants and attorneys representing the class. Among other injunctive relief, Wal-Mart also has agreed to provide training for its adjusters.
Concentra's insurer, Lexington Insurance, will pay the class another $4 million.
“Concentra (also) has agreed to provide periodic training to its marketing and sales force in Colorado, regarding the prohibition of dictation of care provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act and the medical treatment guidelines promulgated by the Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation of the State of Colorado,” according to the statement.
The defendants in the case have denied all allegations, however.
“The health, safety, and well-being of our associates are important to Wal-Mart,” the employer said in the statement. “If associates are injured at work, we and CMI are committed to making available the best treatment and care, so that they can get better. It is up to the doctors to determine the best course of treatment for each person.”
Concentra is a unit of Humana Inc. that provides a broad range of health services for employers nationwide, including health centers and occupational medicine. It said in the statement that it “remains committed to improving America's health one patient at a time with proven outcomes for every patient, regardless of their employer or role within a company, compliant with Colorado law.”
Plaintiffs in the class action had alleged violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
But the statement released Tuesday did not mention the RICO allegations.
A federal judge has refused to dismiss the California-based litigation in the Betty Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gender discrimination case, ruling that plaintiffs should be given the opportunity to submit a motion for class certification.