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Weathers v. Gem City Account Service

August 13, 2010

CECIL WEATHERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEM CITY ACCOUNT SERVICE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Gem City Account Service, Inc.'s (Gem City) Motion to Dismiss (d/e 17) (Motion). The Plaintiff Cecil Weathers alleges that Defendant Gem City is a debt collector that violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 (FDCPA), by attempting to collect a debt that he did not owe. Gem City moves to dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

For purposes of the Motion, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in Weathers' Corrected Amended Complaint (d/e 16) (Complaint). Hager v. City of West Peoria, 84 F.3d 865, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1996); Covington Court, Ltd. v. Village of Oak Brook, 77 F.3d 177, 178 (7th Cir. 1996). The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, Weathers.

Weathers alleges that on March 31, 2006, he was in an automobile accident in which he broke his neck. He was taken to Blessings Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. The State of Illinois Medicaid Program (Medicaid) assumed responsibility for paying Weathers' medical bills. Complaint, ¶¶10-12.

On April 22, 2008, Gem City contacted Weathers asking him to pay $606.00 (Debt) for medical services rendered by Dr. Ronald D. Wheeler while Weathers was in Blessings Hospital in April 2006. Gem City was a debt collector acting on behalf of Dr. Wheeler. Weathers did not remember being treated by Dr. Wheeler. Weathers, furthermore, had never received a bill from Dr. Wheeler. Weathers told Gem City that Medicaid paid his medical bills and he was not responsible for paying the Debt. Id., ¶¶ 13-15.

On November 5, 2008, Weathers sent a Medicaid Claim Inquiry to the Illinois Department of Public Aid (Department). Complaint, Exhibit A, Medicaid Claim Inquiry. Weathers asked the Department to determine if Dr. Wheeler's bill should have been paid. Weathers identified the dates of service as April 3, 2006, through April 25, 2006. Id.

In response to the inquiry, the Department sent a letter dated November 12, 2008, to Dr. Wheeler with a copy to Weathers. Complaint, Exhibit B, Letter dated November 12, 2008 (First Letter). The First Letter stated, in part:

The claim for payment was not timely and/or properly submitted by the provider to the Department for reimbursement. If the provider accepted you as a Medicaid recipient, the provider may not bill, demand or otherwise seek reimbursement from you.

First Letter. The First Letter then summarized the pertinent notes from the review of the Department's records:

On voucher 2008128A487 for date of service 04/03/2006. On voucher 2006361G107 for date of service 04/04/2006. On voucher 2008128A487 for date of service 04/05/2006 and 04/12/2008 and 04/25/2006. The error found for all these date(s) of service was: D-05 The found for all these date(s) of service was: D-05 submitted later than one year after date of service.

Id. Some time after receiving a copy of the First Letter, Weathers informed Gem City representatives that the Department had disallowed Dr. Wheeler's charges, but Weathers was filing an appeal. Complaint, ¶ 18.

On April 1, 2009, the Department sent a second letter to Dr. Wheeler regarding the inquiry of his charges for his treatment of Weathers. Complaint, Exhibit C, Letter dated April 1, 2009 (Second Letter). The Second Letter again stated that the claim "was not timely and/or properly submitted." Id. The summary of the notes from the review of the Department records stated:

The Information is on voucher 2008247A505. The error found was: D-05 submitted later than ...


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