United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
STADTMUELLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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). 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.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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).
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
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:
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
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.
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). 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.