Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan wants nearly $185 million in fees for representing a group of health insurers poised to receive $3.7 billion from the federal government under a neglected Obamacare program.
The U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for the payments in April, ruling in a separate case that the federal government must pay insurers about $12 billion under an Affordable Care Act program designed to make up for losses incurred by offering coverage to sicker, uninsured people. The “risk corridor” payments were scrapped by Congress, leading to a flurry of lawsuits.
Quinn Emanuel’s fee request will be closely watched by insurance companies and litigation funders who purchased insurers’ claims during the court battles. The lawyers’ fee comes out of the award to companies that brought the lawsuit, who have until August 20 to challenge the request. The firm asked for 5% of the total judgment value, which was the maximum it said it would request earlier in the litigation.
“The fee Quinn Emanuel requests is large because of the number of class members who chose Quinn Emanuel as their counsel, and the strength of the results it obtained for them,” the firm said in the fee request.
The 5% award would represent one of the lowest percentage rates awarded to class counsel in cases that recovered more than $1 billion, according to the firm. Quinn Emanuel said it was the first to file a “risk corridor” payments lawsuit, starting a wave of litigation.
The class action was largely on hold while other insurers pursued similar individual claims, including the case that went to the Supreme Court. Lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis made arguments on behalf of insurers in that case.
The fee request filed Thursday says Quinn Emanuel “did not remain idle” in the years while its class actions were stayed, noting the firm filed multiple amicus briefs that were cited by judges in the insurers’ favor.
The case is Health Republic Insurance Company v. USA, Fed. Cl. No., 16-cv-00259, fee request filed 7/30/2020.