What was viewed by an Aspen company as a billing error through a third party debtor created the conditions for a class action lawsuit in federal court.
Carbondale-based Rafael Navarro, who suffered from Aspen anesthesia on May 15, is suing the clinic under the Fair Collection Practices Act. Through San Diego attorney Hunter Hoestenbach, Navarro alleged that he had received a collection letter incorrectly identifying the creditor who requested payment. That violates the FDCPA, it said in the lawsuit.
“This is confusing for people and can make people reluctant to pay their bills,” said Hoestenbach.
Hoestenbach presented Navarro’s claims against Aspen Anesthesia on March 4 in the Denver District of the United States. The lawsuit is pending against a class of plaintiffs who are Colorado residents who have received collection letters from Aspen Anesthesia under false business title since March 4, 2020.
The suit is from Aspen Anesthesia, which uses California-based Monox Billing Service as a third-party collector. Monox sent Navarro bills calling for $ 3,150 to be paid four times between August 10 and November 20, according to the suit’s version of events.
However, it was the fifth bill that was responsible for Navarro’s complaint. The “final notice” is said to be from Eric Willsky, MD, A Med Corp. and Monox Billing Service.
The problem with this was that operations ceased in November 2007 when Willsky changed his name to Eric Willsky MD PC. Dr. Jon Beck acquired the company in November 2018 and changed his name to Aspen Anesthesia.
“It is wrong, misleading and misleading for a collection agency to use a business, company or organization name other than the real name of the company, firm or organization of the collection agency,” the lawsuit said. “The name of a company that does not exist was used in the defendant’s collection letters to the plaintiff.”
Hoestenbach said Aspen Anesthesia didn’t appear to have anything shameful to do, but an important detail in its billing practices was overlooked after Willsky sold the business.
“This third party (bill collector) has been held by a predecessor to Aspen Anesthesia for more than 10 years, and no one has bothered to change anything,” he said. “Now someone in California billed you for something in Aspen and it looks like a different doctor billing you for services.”
Both Beck and Willsky, who are neither a defendant nor a party to the lawsuit, declined to comment.
Representative for Aspen Anesthesia in the dispute is the Denver law firm Sherman & Howard, which, according to court records, appeared on Monday in the matter.
The case was signed to Judge N. Reid Neureiter the same day the lawsuit was filed.
Hoestenbach said he learned about Navarro from a Colorado resident who was aware of his alleged billing problems.
“I’m advertising in a local San Diego Spanish language magazine that is available at local grocery stores and other stores. A man who lives and works in Colorado was on a business trip, saw the ad and called me, ”he said.
It’s too early to determine the size of the class, said Hoestenbach. A judge would also have to produce the class action certificate.
“At this point in time, I don’t know how big the class would be and these cases are limited to last year,” he said.
Members of the class could be contacted by reviewing Aspen Anesthesia’s records, the lawsuit said.
“The proposed class is ascertainable in that, based on information and belief, the names and addresses of all members of the class can be identified in business records kept by the defendant,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks statutory damages “not exceeding an amount of less than five hundred thousand dollars ($ 500,000) or 1 percent of the net worth of (Aspen Anesthesia).”
The three claims in the lawsuit under the FDCPA are: Aspen Anesthesia has not properly informed Navarro that it can dispute or review the debt. Aspen Anesthesia billing practices have been misleading and misleading. and the company also failed to give Navarro its correct name in its final notification.