The company whose actions are at the heart of a lawsuit against Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System over its use of medical liens is seeking bankruptcy protection.
Medical collections agency Hunter Donaldson filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Florida on Wednesday, court records show.
The company listed its assets as between $100,000 and $500,000 and its liabilities as between $1 million and $10 million in its bankruptcy petition.
Hunter Donaldson notified parties embroiled in a lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court of the bankruptcy via a court filing and informed them that it is seeking an “automatic stay” of the local legal proceedings while the bankruptcy petition is considered.
“Classic move by a fleeing fugitive,” said attorney Darrell Cochran, who is representing six people suing MultiCare and Hunter Donaldson.
“This is proof positive that Hunter Donaldson goes to great lengths, literally and figuratively, to avoid responsibility for its bad acts,” Cochran said. “But they've committed fraud here, and bankruptcy will not help them dodge the bullet here no matter how far away they try to run.”
Hunter Donaldson and MultiCare are named as defendants in a lawsuit that accuses them of inappropriately attaching medical liens to court settlements won by people who were injured through no fault of their own and sought treatment at MultiCare facilities.
State law allows such liens as a way to allow hospitals and doctors to recoup the costs of care they provide.
The plaintiffs contend MultiCare and Hunter Donaldson used the medical liens to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of accident victims, some of whom had private insurance that should have been billed.
The plaintiffs also say Hunter Donaldson used a notary public who was illegally registered in Washington State to file many of the liens.
While MultiCare has admitted the notary public, who is the daughter of the Hunter Donaldson’s president, was not properly registered, it contends the liens are legitimate and the only way it can recoup costs in some cases.