N.H. AG asks Legislature to block settlement

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 12, 2011


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney wants state lawmakers to intervene and block a proposed settlement over $110 million of surplus money in a medical malpractice insurance fund.

According to The Associated Press, the State took issue with the settlement, in particular, because private lawyers would receive 25 percent of the surplus money.

"The people of New Hampshire will be outraged when they learn a private law firm is being paid $27 million at a time when there have been severe budget cuts to health and human services -- services that could have been supported by these funds but instead are going to a private law firm," Colin Manning, spokesman for Gov. John Lynch, told the AP.

The law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP represented the plaintiffs in the case.

The attorney general also says the settlement goes against legislative intent.

The Joint Underwriting Association fund was created by the state Insurance Department in 1975. It provides more affordable medical malpractice insurance to physicians in high-risk specialties.

Delaney told the AP that the Legislature directed the surplus be paid to the policyholders and the settlement exceeds the amount requiring their approval.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to decide whether the settlement, which affects about 6,000 policyholders, should get preliminary approval, the AP reported.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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