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Justice Department Files Lawsuit Over $300 Million Settlement For Widespread PCB Contamination
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The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against 18 attorneys, law firms and companies, seeking repayment for payments made on behalf of 907 Medicare beneficiaries who were part of the massive agreement.

The federal government is seeking Medicare reimbursements from lawyers, manufacturers and insurers, including Travelers Cos., that were involved in a $300 million settlement over widespread Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination in Anniston, Alabama, where the chemical was manufactured for decades prior to its ban in 1979.

Charles Miller, Justice Department spokesman, declined comment on Monday about whether the government had determined what amount of money was at stake. “The complaint speaks for itself,” he said.

  
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Defendants say they don’t feel they should have to pay the money, as they contend the claims are too old for court consideration. In addition, the government hasn’t identified which Anniston-area residents had their bills paid by Medicare.

The government lawsuit involves a $300 million portion of the settlement that included about 3,500 people who live in and around Anniston.

Of the $300 million, $129 million went to lawyers and $171 million went to plaintiffs, the lawsuit said.

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Chadbourne & Parke, a New York based law firm which isn’t involved in the case, said in an alert to clients the lawsuit provides “valuable insight” about how the government plans to enforce a law governing Medicare secondary payers.

If the government wins, insurance carriers could be forced to pay double for such settlements going back as far as six years, the firm’s analysis said.





 

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