Jefferson Hartley of Cottage Hills filed a class action complaint against an Alton hospital claiming it fraudulently asserted a lien on the proceeds of a personal injury recovery instead of submitting a claim to his insurance company.

Represented by attorney Lanny Darr, Hartley claims Saint Anthony's Hospital caused him to suffer an economic loss.

According to the complaint filed March 5 in Madison County Circuit Court, Hartley was treated at Saint Anthony's for injuries sustained in a car accident on Dec. 11, 2005.

Hartley had health insurance and incurred charges totaling $7,713.15.

Hartley claims the hospital refused to submit the charges to his insurer although it was requested to do so, leaving him with uninsured medical costs.

"Had defendant submitted plaintiff's medical charges they would have been paid at a reduced rate in accordance with the terms of the contract between his health insurer and the defendant," the complaint states.

Hartley claims the hospital was asked to release the lien but refused claiming they were entitled to a lien rather than accepting a reduced payment from the insurance company.

He claims the hospital deceptively failed to tell him that they would not utilize his health insurance to discharge his obligation depriving him of a benefit to which he was entitled.

"The defendant devised and created a scheme whereby it was able to identify in its system those services that were provided to individuals who were victims of traumatic occurrences that resulted in third party liability claims," the complaint states.

Hartley claims once those services were identified, the hospital refrained from submitting the charges to health insurance carriers to avoid having to accept the reduced amounts to be paid pursuant to contracts.

"Hartley does not criticize the patient care rendered by Saint Anthony's and is not asserting a claim for any harm or damages arising from patient care," the complaint states.

He is seeking an order declaring and confirming that the hospital's conduct in unlawful under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, an injunctive order requiring the hospital to cease and desist all deceptive, unjust and unreasonable practices, attorneys fees and compensatory damages.

The case has yet to be assigned.

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