This is a class action law suit related to deaths of 2 women who under went the surgical procedure with the Lap Band. The crux of the matter revolves around the billboard advertising used in southern California with promoting the procedure.
Now the insurers are not wanting to stand by the case brought against the clinics and the marketing company to resolve the law suit. Four patients have died after having the procedure so if the insurers don’t kick in here, then the the defendants in the case will be responsible for payment when the case settles. BD
Companies affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign are having trouble getting an insurer to cover their legal expenses in Lap-Band related litigation, according to a recent lawsuit.
National Fire & Marine Insurance Co. has refused to pay to defend 1-800-GET-THIN and two affiliated companies, Top Surgeons and Beverly Hills Surgery Center, in a false-advertising case, according to a lawsuit that the companies filed against the insurer.
The false-advertising case, which seeks class-action status, was brought by relatives of two Southern California women who died within days of undergoing Lap-Band surgeries at clinics linked to the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing effort. Robert Silverman, an attorney who represents 1-800-GET-THIN, previously said the lawsuit is without merit.
A fifth patient, Michael Withem, died in 2010, more than a year after undergoing Lap-Band surgery at the Beverly Hills Surgery Center, according to a lawsuit filed by his relatives this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court. That suit claims that surgeon Ollie J. Jackson perforated Withem's stomach during the 2009 operation in Beverly Hills, leading to Withem's death. The lawsuit also faults doctors who later treated Withem at Huntington Beach Hospital before his June 2010 death.
Michael Sarrao, general counsel for Huntington Beach Hospital's parent company, Prime Healthcare Management Inc., declined to discuss the matter, citing "privacy issues and the now-pending litigation." He also said in an email that the hospital and its parent company "are in no way associated with the 1-800-GET-THIN campaign." Jackson could not be reached for comment.
Alexander Robertson, lead attorney in the false-advertising case, said the insurer's decision to deny coverage could prove costly if 1-800-GET-THIN and its affiliates don't prevail.