BRE Law Partner Christopher Ellis recently argued in front of the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeals on behalf of a major firm client: a local hospital. The Appellate Court agreed with Chris’s arguments, holding that a hospital may assert a lien under the Health Care Services Lien Act, 770 ILCS 23/1 et seq., against a potential personal injury settlement even if the injured party maintains private insurance.
In the case at issue, the Plaintiff received treatment at the hospital for injuries sustained in a traffic accident that was caused by a third-party tortfeasor. The treatment resulted in three separate medical bills, two of which were initially sent to the Plaintiff’s private insurance. The private insurer initially denied payment on the grounds that the injuries were caused by a third-party. In response, the hospital filed liens for all three bills under the Health Care Services Lien Act against a potential personal injury settlement that the Plaintiff may eventually receive from the third-party tortfeasor.
The insurance company later reversed course and decided to pay the bills at a discounted rate. However, the hospital kept their liens on the Plaintiff’s potential personal injury settlement. The Plaintiff responded by filing a seven-count punitive class-action complaint against the hospital, which was largely based on the theory that two of the liens were improper since the insurance company decided to pay those two bills at a discounted rate.
Through counsel Chris Ellis, the hospital responded to Plaintiff’s complaint by filing a motion to dismiss. The motion provided that pursuant to previous Illinois case law, it was entirely proper and appropriate for the hospital to elect to file a lien under the Health Care Services Lien Act against Plaintiff’s potential personal injury settlement as opposed to billing health insurance since the Plaintiff was injured by the conduct of a third-party. The Trial Court agreed with this argument, and granted the hospital’s motion to dismiss.
Plaintiff later appealed the Trial Court’s grant of the hospital’s motion to dismiss. After hearing oral arguments by Chris Ellis, the Appellate Court agreed with the hospital and found that an interpretation of the Health Care Services Lien Act “clearly permits [the hospital] to place liens on all of [Plaintiff’s] claims and causes of action for the amount of [Plaintiff’s] hospital bills.” (citation omitted). Accordingly, the Appellate Court affirmed the Trial Court’s grant of the hospital’s motion to dismiss.
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Published March 10, 2017