DEBT RELIEF LAW CENTER
Attorney N. James Turner Can Help
Stop The Harassment!
An unexpected on-the-job injury can be devasting. Fortunately, Florida Law protects workers from be subject to debt collection for medical bills.
In the case of Malone v. Accounts Receivable Res., Inc. (ARR), the debt collector sent a bill to the injured employee, Archie Malone, for a medical bill of $981. ARR, the debt collector, claimed it did not violate the FDCPA as a matter of law because it was entitled to rely on the information provided by the healthcare provider, Medical Center. Malone claimed the Collection Letter for $981 was prohibited under the FDCPA because pursuant to the Florida Workers' Compensation Law, he did not owe the referred debt and therefore, the collecton letter was "false, deceptive, and misleading." Because ARR did not dispute that the referred debt was covered under workers' compensation, Malone was not legally responsible for the outstanding balance on his account at the Medical Center. Fla. Stat. § 440.13(13)(a).
ARR relied on the bona fide error defense in responding to Malone's claim. However, the Court ruled that: "it is undisputed that ARR does not have any procedures in place for the collection of medical debt in Florida. ARR did not cite any "internal controls . . . to reduce the incidence of improper debt collection. Rather, [ARR's] procedure is to outsource its oversight task to its creditor [the Medical Center], which must report only debts that are validly due and owing." Therefore, ARR is not entitled to a bona fide error defense.
As prevailing parties, Malone's attorneys were entitled to attorney's fees and their motion requested $75,000 in attorney's fees against ARR.
The case is currently on appeal.
If you are being abused by debt collectors concerning medical debt, please contact me for a free consultation.
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