On May 5, 2015, the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed with Martzell, Bickford & Centola that class actions are proper in cases where there are numerous claims that may be small or nominal in nature.
Class actions are often used when the actions of a company or person are violating the law but the individual damages are small. If a company or person's actions are unlawfully taking $1000 from someone, it is difficult to find a lawyer to take a case where $1000 is at stake. However, when a company or person's actions are unlawfully taking $1000 from hundreds or thousands of people, the procedural rules allow for those hundreds or thousands of people to come together and enforce their rights in a class action lawsuit.
In this recent case, a hospital was allegedly overcharging patients involved in automobile accidents. Instead of billing the patient's health insurance for the agreed upon discounted rate, the hospital was billing the patient directly for an increased rate, which Martzell, Bickford & Centola alleges is in violation of Louisiana law.
The hospitals have allegedly overbilled hundreds of patients. Some of the overbilling has been in the $1000 range but many of the over billings have been much more. The hospital tried to separate the claims, making it harder and cost prohibitive for the wronged parties to bring their suit.
Martzell, Bickford & Centola attorneys were able to convince the Louisiana Supreme Court that these hundreds of cases belonged together in a class action. Martzell, Bickford & Centola continues to represent a large amount of individuals who have been allegedly over billed by hospitals.
If you have a question about class actions or if you have a question about hospitals over charging for services, please call us at (504) 581-9065.