HLD, v. 32, n. 11 (November 2004)
Wisconsin Appeals Court Finds No Breach Of Contract Between Provider
And Company Providing Records Release Services
All Saints Healthcare System, Inc. (All Saints) entered into a
contract with Midwest Medical Records Associates (MMRA) in which MMRA would
provide release of information (ROI) services for All Saints, including maintaining
All Saints' medical records and responding to requests for copies of medical
A class action lawsuit was filed against All Saints claiming that
it was charging unreasonable and exorbitant fees for certain ROI services in
violation of Wis. Stat. � 146.83(1)(b). The statute
provides that upon submitting a statement of informed consent, a patient may
"receive a copy of the patient's health care records upon payment of reasonable
All Saints cross-claimed against MMRA, claiming breach of contract,
breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary
duty, unjust enrichment, and the right to equitable contribution and or/indemnification.
The trial court granted summary judgment to MMRA. All Saints appealed.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed. The appeals court first
noted that the trial court found that � 146.83(1)(b) does not apply to MMRA
because it is not a healthcare provider and All Saints did not challenge that
ruling on appeal. Instead, All Saints argued that MMRA breached its contract
by warranting that it would follow all state and federal regulations in regard
to the release of information and that charging unreasonable fees was a violation
The appeals court found, however, that the contract itself specified
the prices to be charged by MMRA for providing copies of medical records; therefore,
MMRA could not be in breach of the contract for charging those prices. The appeals
also rejected All Saints' argument that by warranting that it would comply with
all applicable regulations, MMRA in effect warranted that the fee schedule in
the contract complied with law. The contract provided that MMRA could not change
the rates without All Saints' consent, thus the contract could not be "construed
to include a warranty that MMRA would charge rates other than those specified
in the contract."
The appeals court also noted that All Saints was under no obligation
to agree to the rates in the contract and could have demanded other rates if
it deemed the proposed rates to be unreasonable.
Lastly, the appeals court held that the trial court properly dismissed
All Saints' claim for indemnification or contribution because "the contract
contained no provision for either."
Cruz v. All Saints Healthcare Sys., Inc., No. 03-1052, 2004
WL 2236631 (Wis. Ct. App. Oct. 6, 2004). To read the case, go to http://www.courts.state.wi.us/ca/opinions/03/pdf/03-1052.pdf