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Ilze C. Thielmann earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a member of the Columbia Law Review, in 1994. She graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in English in 1988.
Since 2000, Ms. Thielmann has focused her practice on healthcare litigation, representing physicians, medical associations and consumers in complex litigations combating the wrongful practices of health insurers in state and federal courts throughout the United States. She has served as counsel for numerous medical associations and hundreds of thousands of physicians across the nation in two large multi-district litigations, has worked on several ground-breaking settlements with major health insurers, and has done extensive appellate work on behalf of medical associations and providers in various courts across the country.
Ms. Thielmann represented state medical societies and physician plaintiffs in seven related actions challenging United Healthcare Group’s provider claims payment practices. The cases were resolved in a May 2015 global settlement in which the insurer agreed to spend more than $11.5 million in practice enhancements and payments to the plaintiffs. Ms. Thielmann litigated the plaintiffs’ claims in four state courts, five federal district courts, and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The hard-fought litigations ultimately resulted in significant relief in the areas of claims management and claims resolution.
In a similar action, Scher v. Oxford Health Plans, Inc., AAA Case No. 11 193 00548 05, Ms. Thielmann helped obtain a $22 million settlement for a state-wide class of physicians in a class arbitration before a panel of the American Arbitration Association in New York. During the years of litigation and arbitration that led up to the settlement, Ms. Thielmann was instrumental in defeating the respondents’ repeated attacks on the claimant’s ability to arbitrate on a class-wide basis—first before the arbitral panel, and then in both the trial and appellate courts of New York State.
Ms. Thielmann has authored amicus curiae briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and Circuit Courts of Appeals on behalf of various medical associations, including the American Medical Association and numerous state, county, and specialty medical societies. Most recently, her amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of the American Medical Association and the Medical Society of New Jersey in Oxford Health Plans, LLC. V. Sutter, No. 12-135, addressed the difficulties physicians would face in enforcing their contractual and statutory rights if they were limited solely to individual arbitration with health insurance companies, as Oxford Health Plans argued they should be pursuant to the terms of their contracts. In a rare 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court held that the arbitrator’s decision interpreting the parties’ arbitration clause to permit class arbitration withstood the limited judicial review of arbitrators’ decisions allowed under the Federal Arbitration Act.
Ms. Thielmann currently represents plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Aetna, Inc. for discriminating against HIV/AIDS patients. The lawsuit alleges that Aetna’s discriminatory, mandatory mail-order pharmacy program would pose serious health and privacy threats to HIV/AIDS patients receiving specialty medications from the retail pharmacist of their choice.
Ms. Thielmann also represented a certified class of hundreds of retirees and other small investors who lost the bulk of their retirement savings in the Bernard Madoff scandal, in Levinson v. Westport National Bank, Civil Action No. 3:09-cv-269, in the District of Connecticut. The action was settled at trial, just before the case was to go to the jury, for over $7.5 million.
Ms. Thielmann has actively participated in the Class Action Preservation Project, a joint effort with the public interest firm Public Justice and a team of other lawyers aimed at challenging attempts to ban or limit class actions and class arbitrations across the country, drafting amicus curiae briefs on behalf of Public Justice in major appeals before federal circuit courts of appeals on issues central to class arbitration and class action law.
Ms. Thielmann began her career at the defense firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and then from 1995 through 1999 represented both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation at Kirkland & Ellis.
Ms. Thielmann is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the United States Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit.