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Mayall v. The Randall Firm, PLLC

United States District Court, D. Utah, Northern Division

September 26, 2019

JUSTIN MAYALL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE RANDALL FIRM, PLLC, an Idaho professional limited liability company; NEAL S. RANDALL, MEADE RECOVERY SERVICES, LLC, a Utah limited liability company; and MEADERS, LLC, a Utah limited liability company, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM DECISION

          TENA CAMPBELL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Justin Mayall brought this action following efforts to collect a medical bill he claims he did not owe. Before the court are three motions for judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment. Two sets of defendants, Meade Recovery Services and Meaders, LLC (collectively, Meade), and Neal S. Randall and The Randall Firm, PLLC (collectively, the Randall Defendants), have filed nearly identical motions seeking dismissal of all claims against them. (ECF Nos. 156, 167.) For the reasons set forth below, the court grants in part and denies in part these motions. The Randall Defendants have additionally filed a motion seeking dismissal on the narrow grounds that Mr. Mayall failed to comply with his discovery obligations and has not pierced the corporate veil to hold Mr. Randall personally liable. (ECF No. 153.) This motion is denied.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         This case arises from a straightforward billing error made by a medical clinic. On August 8, 2012, Mr. Mayall visited Advanced Spine Pain Specialists (Advanced Spine) in Logan, Utah, for surgery to treat back pain. But Mr. Mayall, a disabled veteran who receives medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare, needed insurance preauthorization before he could undergo surgery. Advanced Spine promised to submit the necessary papers, and scheduled his surgery for August 14, 2012.

         Mr. Mayall underwent surgery, but Advanced Spine forgot to submit his preauthorization papers. Because of the error, Advanced Spine waived the cost of the procedure. But the Cache Valley Hospital still sent Mr. Mayall a bill for the surgery, which Mr. Mayall refused to pay. The hospital turned the bill over to Meade for collection.

         On July 18, 2013, Mr. Mayall received a letter from the Randall Defendants on behalf of Meade demanding payment. The letter stated:

         Our records indicate that you owe a past-due balance as calculated below:

Original Balance

$3, 670.10

Accrued Interest at 18% APR

$620.80

Collection Costs

$1, 468.04

Attorney Fees

$175.00

Less Payments Made

-$0.00

Total Past-Due Balance

$5, 933.94

You should pay off the amount owed now by mailing a check or money order to: Meade Recovery Service, LLC . . . . If you cannot pay off the amount owed right now, then you should call my office and set up monthly payments and sign a payment agreement; the fee to set up the payment arrangement will be included in the monthly payments. If you do not: 1) Pay off the amount owed, or 2) set up monthly payments, then a lawsuit will be filed against you to collect the original balance. Also, the lawsuit will seek to recover interest, attorney fees, collection costs and other court costs from you. Therefore, in order to avoid legal action, you should contact me immediately. Otherwise, my client has instructed me to file a lawsuit against you.
Sincerely,
Neal S. Randall
Attorney at Law

(Ex. 1 to Second Am. Compl. (ECF No. 80-1).) At the bottom of the letter was a fine print legal notice:

If this is a consumer debt, you are hereby notified of the following: 1) This letter is an attempt to collect a debt allegedly owed to the above-listed original creditor, and any information will be used for that purpose. 2) Unless you dispute the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof within thirty (30) days after receipt of this letter, the debt will be assumed to be valid. 3) If you notify this office in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion therof, is disputed, then this office will obtain verification of the debt, or, if applicable, a copy of the judgment against you, and this office will mail a copy of such verification or judgment against you. 4) Upon your written request within the thirty-day period, this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. 5) This past due debt may be reported, if not reported already, to a credit reporting company, if it remains unpaid.

(Id.)

         According to Mr. Mayall, he disputed the debt in writing within thirty days of receiving the letter.

         On August 20, 2013, the Randall Defendants sent Mr. Mayall another letter with a copy of an unfiled state court complaint, which said,

You have just been served with a lawsuit. The lawsuit will seek damages as described in the attached Complaint, and as shown in the brief summary below:

Original Balance

$3, 670.10

Accrued Interest at 18% APR (thru 8/9/12 to 8/20/13)

$680.53

Collection Costs* and Attorney Fees

$2, 120.54

Less Payments Made

-$0.00

Total Past-Due Balance

$6, 471.17

*Including estimated service of process costs of $27.50


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