EMS bill collector sues cityA company that was contracted to collect bills owed to St. Croix Emergency Medical Services has sued the city of Hudson, claiming the city breached the contract.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
A company that was contracted to collect bills owed to St. Croix Emergency Medical Services has sued the city of Hudson, claiming the city breached the contract.
Lifeline Systems of Wautoma, which did business for Hudson as LifeQuest, is asking for up to $465,296 in compensatory damages, plus reimbursement for court costs and attorney’s fees.
The complaint filed Nov. 20 in St. Croix County Circuit Court alleges that the city didn’t notify LifeQuest soon enough that it intended to terminate its agreement with the company at the end of the three-year contract.
According to the complaint, Hudson entered into an agreement with LifeQuest on April 1, 2006, to have the company provide a customized billing, collection and data management system that the city used to collect receivables for the ambulance service.
The contract required either party to give notice at least 180 days before the end of the term if it didn’t want it to renew for another three-year period, the complaint says.
LifeQuest alleges that it wasn’t notified until March 20, 2009, that the city wanted to end the contract on April 8.
City Administrator Devin Willi said on Monday that he hadn’t seen the lawsuit yet. He referred questions about it to City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick. She wasn’t contacted for this report.
The city has yet to file a response to the complaint, but a resolution the City Council adopted last July indicates what its defense will be. In denying a claim for damages that LifeQuest filed with the city clerk, the council said that the city had given the company proper notice that it didn’t intend to renew the contract.
The council also alleged that LifeQuest had breached the contract, providing grounds for ending it.
The City Council’s unhappiness with LifeQuest’s performance surfaced occasionally in meetings leading up to the switch to a new bill collector.
A letter in the case file from LifeQuest’s attorneys to city officials references an Oct. 7, 2008, letter that the city sent to the company.
Lance Mueller of the Herrling, Clark Law Firm of Appleton said the city’s 2008 letter didn’t “serve to terminate the agreement” but merely suggested that the city “may be terminating the agreement” on April 1, 2009.
No hearings on the case have been scheduled. It is assigned to Circuit Judge Eric J. Lundell.