Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ruzhinskaya v. Healthport Technologies, LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

November 1, 2019

TATYANA RUZHINSKAYA, as Administratix of the Estate of MARINA ROCHNIAK, Deceased, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
HEALTHPORT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Defendant-Appellee, BETH ISRAEL MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.

          Argued: April 15, 2019

          Appeal from the March 14, 2018 judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Engelmayer, J.), granting Defendant-Appellee HealthPort Technologies, LLC's motion for summary judgment. Because this Court anticipates certifying certain questions to the New York Court of Appeals after a final judgment is entered, and wishes to avoid multiple, unnecessary proceedings, we VACATE the grant of summary judgment and REMAND to the district court with instructions to reinstate Beth Israel as a party and to adjudicate the case to a final judgment. We remand along the lines of the procedures set out in United States v. Jacobson, 15 F.3d 19, 22 (2d Cir. 1994), so that any new appeal will be referred to this panel.

          MATHEW P. JASINSKI, MOTLEY RICE LLC, HARTFORD, CT, FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT TATYANA RUZHINSKAYA.

          JAY P. LEFKOWITZ (NATHANIEL J. KRITZER, ON THE BRIEF), KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP, NEW YORK, N.Y. (SCOTT R. EMERY, LYNCH DASKAL EMERY LLP, NEW YORK, N.Y.; REBECCA BRAZZANO, SETH A. LITMAN, THOMPSON HINE LLP, NEW YORK, N.Y., ON THE BRIEF), FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE HEALTHPORT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC.

          Before: KEARSE, WINTER, and POOLER, Circuit Judges.

          POOLER, Circuit Judge.

         This Court anticipates certifying to the New York Court of Appeals issues of statutory interpretation as to New York Public Health Law § 18 and wishes to avoid multiple, unnecessary proceedings. Accordingly, we vacate the grant of summary judgment and remand the case to the district court with instructions to reinstate Beth Israel as a party and to adjudicate the case to a final judgment. We remand along the lines of the procedures set out in United States v. Jacobson, 15 F.3d 19, 22 (2d Cir. 1994), so that any new appeal will be referred to this panel.

         BACKGROUND

         This case involves claims of excessive charges for medical records under New York Public Health Law ("PHL") § 18, which governs access to and charges for patient medical records. Plaintiff-Appellant Tatyana Ruzhinskaya alleges that she was overcharged for copies of her late mother's medical records. Ruzhinskaya initially brought claims both against Beth Israel Medical Center, the hospital that housed the medical records, and the "release of information" ("ROI") company, HealthPort Technologies, LLC, with whom Beth Israel contracted to photocopy and provide the records to requesters on its behalf. Nevertheless, on January 26, 2015, the "parties . . . stipulate[d] to dismissal, without prejudice, of all claims against Defendant Beth Israel Medical Center." Dist. Ct. Dkt. No. 57, 1:14-cv-2921. Accordingly, the case proceeded with HealthPort as the sole defendant.

         HealthPort and Beth Israel share a written agreement regarding fees that HealthPort charges requesters of medical records. HealthPort provides its services at no cost to Beth Israel and "'charge[s] [requesters] the per-page fees as set forth under state law' where state law so provides, on the ground that such fees are 'presumed reasonable,' and that HealthPort otherwise 'will charge a reasonable, cost-based fee.'" Special App'x at 89-90 (quoting an agreement between HealthPort and Beth Israel).

         It is undisputed that at all times relevant, HealthPort charged requesters 75 cents per page, regardless of the actual "cost incurred" in meeting such requests. The crux of Ruzhinskaya's argument, both before the district court and on appeal, is that a blanket charge of 75 cents per page violates Section 18(2)(e). Under that section, a health care "provider may impose a reasonable charge for all inspections and copies, not exceeding the costs incurred by such provider . . . . However, the reasonable charge for paper copies shall not exceed seventy-five cents per page." PHL § 18(2)(e).

         On April 29, 2015, Ruzhinskaya moved for class certification with respect to her second amended complaint, seeking to represent a statewide class defined to include all patients or patient representatives who had made requests for patient records from a healthcare provider for which HealthPort charged 75 cents a page. After hearing argument, the district court denied the motion to certify on November 9, 2015. The district court noted that it was undisputed that HealthPort charged 75 cents per page on behalf of all the hospitals who retained it to fill records requests, but the "costs incurred" in meeting records requests differed hospital by hospital. Special App'x at 10. The district court reasoned that the text of Section 18(2)(e) does not limit "costs incurred" to certain species of costs such as direct costs; rather, cognizable costs include labor costs and overhead. Special App'x at 10-12. Nevertheless, the district court held that "a more narrowly defined class, one drawn to include all requests for records made to . . . Beth Israel," would satisfy the requirements for certification. Special App'x at 2. The district court invited Ruzhinskaya to move to certify such a class.

         Ruzhinskaya accepted the court's invitation, moving to certify a narrower class of persons who, between March 12, 2011 and the present, had requested records from Beth Israel whose requests had been serviced by HealthPort and who had been charged 75 cents per page. The district court granted that motion.

         During a pretrial conference, the issue arose of "whether evidence of Beth Israel's costs incurred, to the extent these had not been passed along to HealthPort, could be received at trial as a component of the costs incurred." Special App'x at 76. The district court directed the parties to brief the issue. The court denied Ruzhinskaya's motion in limine to exclude such evidence of Beth Israel's costs incurred, reasoning that HealthPort had no freestanding legal duties under Section 18. Accordingly, were the case against HealthPort to reach trial, the dispositive issue as to Ruzhinskaya's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.