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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 35017
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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I just received a letter from an atty debt from 2012 that

Customer Question

I just received a letter from an atty for a debt from 2012 that was a mistake to start with. I disputed this debt with a hospital at the time and it was handled no big deal. The several months later is was turned over to a collection agency. I disputed in writing once again and is was removed from my records. All in 2012. this is for $2200.
Now in 2016 I receive a letter from an atty filling a law suit with demand for payment, 4 years later. I do not have the documentation anymore to prove it was taken care of. What do I do? I owe no one, there is no mistake and i have a perfect reputation for paying my bills.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help

Also, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen.

I am sorry for this dilemma. But not sure I understand your specific question. Your reputation for paying bills on time is not legally relevant. The question is; do you owe this money ? If not, do you have an agreement in writing where the original creditor relieved you of your obligation to pay this bill?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello I'm Josh, Thank you for responding. Below is the letter that I just typed to the law firm that wrote me. Maybe this will help you some. Again this letter is from me to them.Bradley G. Dowler
Post Office Box 803
Benton, AR 72018RE: Mid-South Adjustment Co. v. Josh Casada
District Court of Jefferson County, AR, Case No. PBCV13-2141Dear Mr. Dowler,I am in receipt of your letter regarding a paid in full debt to JRMC / Mid South Adjustments Inc. dating back to 2012. Please note your letter to me states the following:“I am in receipt of your answer in this case claiming the debt was paid in full”.I want to be very clear, you have never contacted me nor have never had any type of correspondence with you or anyone from your staff.I also want to be clear this was not a claim, I provided the proper documentation in 2012 to JRMC to clear this matter up and given a record of $000 balance at that time. When Mid South pursued it I followed the proper procedures and disputed the matter with them as well and I believe they removed the balance from their records at that time. I ran a credit check some time ago and noticed they had added the charges back on to my account. I disputed this with the credit bureau at that time and I believe it once again went uncontested.This issue has been disputed and resolved when I provided factual documented payment information. Due to this fact this is over 3.5 years old and settled I cannot locate these documents. Since this ordeal my company was sold, the name dissolved and the bank accounts at that time have been closed for over 2 yearsFor a brief summary: JRMC offers a roughly 20% plus discount to pay in full which I did and do whenever possible because I had a fully funded HSA. At the time I had a $3000 deductible with 100% paid once the deductible was met. Since this was in July I had partially met my deductible for the year. The $499 you mentioned was the discounted remaining portion of the deductible. I believe that was actually $501 (and some change) so I said charge my debt card $499 because I had a $500 per transaction security limit.This was done in December 2012 after the accounting was finished between my insurance company and JRMC. The liability in this case belongs completely with Jefferson Regional Medical Center for not properly handling my payment in full shortly after the billing statement was provided. Again 3.5 years later I do not have that documentation. Due to the time and this reoccurring paid in full debt. I am requesting you provide all of the original documentation from the original creditor with my signatures for prior authorizations or approvals for any charges incurred. Quite honesty the patient bill detail you have provided does not match the services performed. To answer your question of how I would like to proceed; I am in full dispute of these charges as they were paid in full within the billing cycle and received a prompt paid in full discount 3.5 years ago. I respectfully ***** ***** stop any further attempts to collect this paid in full dept. If you continue I will seek damages from all parties involved for the continued harassment of a bill that was admittedly by JRMC paid in full in 2012.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no sir I do not owe the money, I paid it in full in 2012.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. In order for them to sue and win in court they must prove you owe the money.

If you've paid this money already? You no longer owe the debt? Then they can sue you if they like however, if you show up in court and can demonstrate to the court you have paid this money to court, the court is not going to issue a judgment against you.

It may be this is simply a bluff; it may be they are attempting to shake you down to get more money. However, at the end of the day, if you've paid this debt and they sue you and you can demonstrate the debt has been paid? Then the judge will dismiss the lawsuit.

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
attached is the letter they sent me
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

I understand. Again, if you no longer owe this money? And you can prove it? Then you're wasting your time trying to sue you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is my letter ok to send? I do not owe the money but the debt is so old I do not have the documents to prove it and those accounts have been closed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also he said he was in receipt of my answer? I never heard of the firm or talked to them. this is 3.5 years later? is that just a scare tactic?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Can you verify the original debt was in Arkansas?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know, it was in AR. Its so old I have no info on this any more.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

You do you not recall what state you were living in when this happened???

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have always lived in AR. You asked if I could very that is were the charges were.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Thank you

Just a moment please

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

Arkansas has a five-year statute of limitations on contract claims. In other words, if you have a obligation to pay within the past five years they could sue to a force that obligation. If they are claiming the obligation stemmed from 2012? That was less than five years ago.

Again, to force you to pay they have to sue you and prove in court you owe this money. Unless or until they can accomplish this? They cannot force you to pay anything.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The question is, how do I protect myself if I no longer have access to the proof of payment due to the time of 3.5 years old with no attempt to collect?And if they have no signatures of authorizations of work done, what do they have to prove?Yes sir I'm aware of the 5 years.What are they scared of, who do they not want looking into there firm or collection agency? Like the Fair Debt Collection folks, the BBB?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

The fact they have not attempted to collect the debt in the past three and one half years is not legally significant.

It doesn't mean anything.

However, they have the burden of proof; not you. they have to prove you owe the money.

You asked "what are they afraid of"?

I suspect they are most afraid of losing money. If they cannot prove you owe the money they are not going to waste time filing a lawsuit.

On the other hand, if they have evidence to prove you owe this money? Then I would fully expect them to pursue the claim.

Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.