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Moya v. Walgreen Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 31, 2019

CAROLYN MOYA, Plaintiff,
v.
WALGREEN CO., Defendant.

          ORDER

          J.P. STADTMUELLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         1. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed this action on October 1, 2018 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. (Docket #1-1 at 6-16). She sues Defendant for charging allegedly improper fees to herself and the putative class members in providing them copies of their healthcare records. Id. Defendant removed the case to this Court on November 9, 2018. (Docket #1).[1] Defendant then filed a motion to dismiss on November 28, 2018. (Docket #6). The motion is now fully briefed, and for the reasons stated below, it must be granted.

         2. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Defendant has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). That Rule provides for dismissal of complaints which fail to state a viable claim for relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In reviewing Plaintiff's complaint, the Court is required to “accept as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in [her] favor[.]” Kubiak v. City of Chi., 810 F.3d 476, 480-81 (7th Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). To state a viable claim, a complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In other words, the complaint must give “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). The allegations must “plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level[.]” Kubiak, 810 F.3d at 480 (quotation omitted).

         3. RELEVANT FACTS

         Accepting the truth of Plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations and drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor, the relevant facts are as follows. Wisconsin Statutes Section 146.83 (“Section 146.83”) limits the fees that a healthcare provider may charge a patient when it provides the patient with his or her healthcare records. (Docket #1-1 at 7-9). Plaintiff was injured in a vehicle crash in April 2011. Id. at 12. She retained her current attorneys, the Welcenbach Law Offices S.C. (“Welcenbach”), to represent her in a personal injury claim. Id. With Plaintiff's authorization, Welcenbach sought her healthcare records from a number of providers, including Defendant. Id.

         Welcenbach sent a records request to Defendant on January 23, 2013. Defendant responded by providing five pages of records and an invoice for $55. (Docket #1-1 at 63). The invoice included the following text:

Dear Sir/Madam
In accordance with your request, pharmacy records for the above referenced patient were forwarded after a complete search was conducted, pursuant to the statutory retention period for pharmacy records. An invoice for our services is attached.
Please remit payment, together with this invoice. If state statute designates a different reimbursement, please enclose a copy of the statute along with a check for that amount Id. On March 27, 2013, Welcenbach paid the $55 charge without protest and without taking advantage of the offer in the final sentence of the quoted passage.

Id. Plaintiff now claims that the $55 fee violates Section 146.83 because it exceeds the maximum amount the statute permits Defendant to charge for the records it provided. Id. at 12-13.

         On March 20, 2013, seven days before paying the invoice, Welcenbach filed a lawsuit on Plaintiff's behalf against Aurora Healthcare, Inc. and Healthport Technologies, LLC (collectively referred to as “Healthport”). (Docket #8-1).[2] Therein, Plaintiff alleged the same basic claim, that she was overcharged for healthcare records in contravention of Section 146.83. Id. The case eventually made its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which decided a number of issues in her favor. Moya v. Aurora Healthcare, Inc. et al., 894 N.W.2d 405 (Wis. 2017). Those issues will be described in greater detail below.

         4. ...


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