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We have a questions about the advisability of a court

We have a questions...

We have a questions about the advisability of a court appearance. A year ago, our insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas (Medicare Advantage) made an error in processing a claim for my husband's colonoscopy. Each month we called; they recognized their error. But they did not pay the bill. After almost a year, we filed suit in Small Claims Court. They hired an attorney. They have now paid all the bills that they were contracted to.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And can you tell me what's been officially filed?

Texas. We have filed a claim in Small Claims Court. My husband wants to know if the judge is likely to award us the $126 filing fee. Or not. We've settled all the rest of the claim.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

We have set a court date. (That was done prior to settling the doctor bills.) We have had multiple discussions with their attorney.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I think that's it.

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Answered in 23 minutes by:
3/14/2018
Sean K
Sean K, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 973
Experience: Attorney/Member in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

I have some thoughts about your situation but want to make sure that I have an understanding. Essentially BC/BS made an error and kept putting you off and you had to file suit to get them to follow the terms of the policy that you paid for and had in place. After the suit was filed, they got an attorney involved and now all claims have been paid, but there still is a Court date and the balance, if you will, outstanding, from keeping you from being whole is the $126 court filing fee?

Is that correct?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
That's exactly right.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
BC/BS wanted us to sign a 12 page form, saying that we would defend them in the future, never disparage them, etc., in order to receive the $126. That is ridiculous. We are not signing that form.

Excellent. So here is what I tell people. You are 100% entitled to your filing fee back. Period, end of story.

If a Court renders a judgement at a contested hearing, the filing fee is almost always included in the award.

It is also quite common for a company like BC/BS to ask for a settlement agreement that includes language like you reference - they print those things out in a flash and use language that their attorneys have said to include.

So, if you go to the Court and ask a judge to award the filing fee, there are likely 1 of 2 things that will happen. First, the Court will be shocked that after having to file suit that a company like BC/BS would not pay that sum to make you whole. After all, all you asked them to do was what they agreed to do.

The second option is that the Judge may look at a claim for $126 as so small that they won't want to take any court time.

I would say the first is most likely, but the take away here is that it may very well end up being determined by the judge you get.

Now, I can't say that I am shocked that BC/BS would want their "standard" release signed, but I am shocked that they would insist on it over $126. They will most assuredly pay an attorney $126 to go to a hearing.

So you could approach it like this.

Contact BC/BS, or their legal counsel, and let them know you would dismiss the hearing date for $126, but you will not sign a 12 page release. Tell them you will release all claims and would not discuss the settlement (this is standard) but nothing more.

If they don't then have the hearing, BC/BS will have to pay an attorney to attend, more than the $126, and worst case, you have a judge decide and you live with the decision. Best case, BC/BS pays you and their attorney.

I tend to be pragmatic and look at the value of your time, but that is simply uncalled for, not to just pay this filing fee.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thanks! That is excellent advice, and I really appreciate your evaluation of the situation.

Thank you so much. I wish you the best luck and 5 star ratings are always appreciated!

Sean K
Sean K, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 973
Experience: Attorney/Member in Private Law Firm
Verified
Sean K and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Thank you so much!

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