Central Florida Regional Hospital (the Hospital) was released from a proposed class action last week for its alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The Hospital’s debt collector, Transworld Systems, allegedly made autodialed calls to collect overdue hospital debts without prior patient consent. Lead plaintiff, Charles Ivy, former emergency room patient at the Hospital, claimed that he received several autodialed calls from the Hospital, through Transworld Systems, to collect a debt owed for services provided by while in the emergency room. Ivy alleged that the autodialed calls began in August 2015. When he answered one of the calls in August 2016, a Transworld Systems’ agent explained to Ivy that he owed approximately $150 on a medical bill from May 2015. Ivy refused to pay the $150 because he had already paid $12,000 for his treatment, and he asked that the calls cease. Overall, Ivy alleged that he received over 220 calls -30 from the Hospital and about 190 from Transworld Systems by January 2017. Ivy claimed that he never gave consent to the Hospital to receive these calls as the TCPA requires. However, the Hospital moved to dismiss the claims because the Hospital had records that made it clear that Ivy had agreed to receive autodialed calls –meaning no TCPA violation.
U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell tossed Ivy’s claims after Ivy voluntarily dismissed his allegations against the Hospital; Ivy, did not, however, drop his claims against Transworld Systems. He still seeks to represent a class of plaintiffs who were admitted to the Hospital since February 6, 2013 who have received unauthorized, automated calls from Transworld Systems.