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Local lawyers net largest lawsuit in state

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A $61 million case negotiated by Springfield- and Boliver-based firm Douglas, Haun & Heidemann PC topped the list of the largest 2017 settlements in Missouri.

Missouri Lawyers Weekly honored attorneys Craig Heidemann and Nathan Duncan at an awards banquet Jan. 26 for negotiating the settlement.

Douglas, Haun & Heidemann filed the class-action suit against L-3 Communications Corp. on behalf of Andrew Foster and others, who alleged the defense contractor sold defective holographic gun sights, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly

“The Missouri Merchandising Practices Act was created to protect consumers from misleading and fraudulent advertising,” a news release from the law firm states. “Even after the company discovered the defects in the sights, they continued to deceive sight owners by covering up the flaws with the sights. This settlement represents a major victory for consumer rights protection.”

The final settlement was approved in July 2017, according to the release. It also included $10 million in attorney fees paid by L-3 Communications.

“As a result of the settlement, more than 78,000 owners of the company’s EOTech holographic weapon sights manufactured between 2005 and 2016 either received a full refund for their sight or received a cash payment,” the release indicates.

Douglas, Haun & Heidemann specializes in class actions, personal injury, wrongful death, employment law and civil rights. Since 1996, the firm has recovered more than $200 million for clients, according to the release.

Another Springfield attorney negotiated the second-largest settlement. Jenifer Placzek of Placzek, Winget & Placzek LLC, along with Kansas City-based Cindi Woolery of the U.S. Attorney’s office settled Holden v. Mercy Hospital Springfield for $34 million.

According to Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the suit contended that the hospital violated federal law by “compensating physicians based partly on the value of their patient referrals to Mercy Hospital’s chemotherapy treatment center.”

This allegedly resulted in improper Medicare claims. According to Missouri Lawyers Weekly, $5.4 million of the settlement went to the physician who alerted authorities to the issue.

Other settlements recognized by the legal publication are:
    •    Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, $11.2 million;
    •    a confidential case, $11 million;
    •    City of Maryland Heights et al. v. TracFone Wireless, $10.3 million; and
    •    a confidential case, $7.5 million.

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