Some Phoenix (AZ) Firefighters Sue Over Insurance Issues

Repeated delays and denials of insurance payments for injured Phoenix firefighters have prompted a lawsuit that equates the city's risk-services provider with an international drug cartel, reports

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court late last week, accuses the insurance provider, York Risk Services Group, of violating federal racketeering laws by conspiring with the company’s hand-picked doctors to deny the injury claims to the firefighters and their families, and using mail and electronic communications to carry out the fraud across state lines.

Attorneys representing the nine firefighters admit that using federal RICO laws to go after insurance providers is a novel approach, but said it provides an avenue for the firefighters to work around immunity clauses that would typically prohibit such claims.

An attorney representing the firefighters say the company’s repeated use of the same tactics — denying benefits through a mailed letter, sending the firefighter to "hand-picked" doctors that back up the company’s claim and ultimately losing when the case comes before the Industrial Commission of Arizona -- is what led the legal team to consider the unique approach.

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