KANSAS CITY – HealthPort Technologies and Centerpoint Medical Center of Independence recently removed a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges they wrongfully charge fees in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division.
According to a removal notice filed June 22, lead plaintiff Jeffrey Bowden claims that the defendants charged the fees in response to a request made by Bowden' attorneys for medical records at Centerpoint and that the rates charged are not in compliance with HIPAA or with a recent guidance distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The case was originally filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on May 15 claiming unjust enrichment, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practice Act.
Bowden's suit seeks to represent two nationwide class of individuals – "All persons in Missouri whose PHI (personal health information) was maintained in electronic format, who requested their PHI in electronic format, who were provided an electronic copy of their PHI, and who paid an invoice exceeding six dollars and fifty cents ($6.50) from Defendants (or anyone working on behalf of Defendants) at any time in the last five (5) years)"; and "All persons in Missouri who requested their PHI in electronic format, regardless of whether or not the PHI was stored in electronic format; who were provided a copy of their PHI; and who paid an invoice exceeding six dollars and fifty cents ($6.50) from Defendants (or anyone working on behalf of Defendants) when Defendants, prior to producing the PHI, did not inform them of any additional charges, at any time in the last five (5) years."
Defendants claim that, among other things, federal court has jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).
Thee claim that they "vigorously dispute the validity of Bowden’s claims" and deny that this case is appropriate for class treatment. But, for the purposes of determining whether federal jurisdiction exists under CAFA, the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5 million based upon the allegations in the complaint, one of the requirements for federal jurisdiction under CAFA.