Volusia Law Firm Wins Judgement In Orange County Copies Lawsuit With State Wide Implications

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Gracia, a partner in the Port Orange-based law firm of Rue & Ziffra, filed a lawsuit challenging a $1 per page fee for copies of his clients’ medical records from Health Information Professionals Inc., an Orlando-based health care information company.

Attorney Luis Gracia, Rue & Ziffra Law Firm

The ruling benefits all law firms in Orange County as it is binding in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court.

While Attorney Luis Gracia√ usually spends his courtroom hours pleading cases about injured body parts, the lawyer recently won a case based on “copies.”

Gracia, a partner in the Port Orange-based law firm of Rue & Ziffra, filed a lawsuit challenging a $1 per page fee for copies of his clients’ medical records from Health Information Professionals Inc., an Orlando-based health care information company.

“Basically, they charged us $1 per page no matter how many pages,” Gracia said. “It didn’t matter if it was 200 pages or 20 pages; that was their charge, even though the law provides that when it comes to patients the charges for records are 1 dollar for the first 25 pages and then .25 cents per page after that.”

The suit, filed in October 2009 in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County, alleged the fee for copies of clients’ medical records was “excessive and contrary” to a Florida Administrative Code that allows $1 per page for the first 25 pages and .25 cents for additional copies of medical records.

Health Information Professionals Inc. argued that the provision of the code cited by Mr. Gracia only pertains to patients and governmental agencies and not the law firms requesting medical records.

Gracia filed a declaratory judgment action against the company arguing that the law firm of Rue & Ziffra simply is “standing in the shoes of” the clients/patients and acting as an agent for those clients/patients when they request the records.

In December 2011, Circuit Court Judge Julie H. O’Kane agreed with Gracia and ruled in his favor stating that the court views the ruling as a “plain reading of the statute.”

Gracia said now that Health Information Professionals Inc. can only charge attorneys representing patients $1 for the first 25 pages and .25 cents thereafter. Clients will benefit greatly as the cost of copies typically is passed on from attorneys to clients.The ruling also benefits all law firms in Orange County, Gracia said, as it is binding in the 9th Judicial Circuit Court. And, he said, it should prove a valuable reference for other legal circuits.

About Rue & Ziffra: Founded by John D. Rue and Allan L. Ziffra, the personal-injury law firm of Rue & Ziffra has served the Central Florida community for more than 25 years. The firm’s commitment to its profession and its clients has earned it a reputation as one of the top personal-injury law firms in Central Florida. Known for handling everything from automobile and motorcycle accidents to medical malpractice, wrongful death, and social security and disability cases, Rue & Ziffra has recovered millions of dollars for injured clients and their families. With a staff of nine attorneys, the firm maintains offices in Port Orange, DeLand and Palm Coast. For more information, visit http://www.rueziffra.com.

Case ID: 2010-CA-008510-0

For more information about this release, please contact:
Luis Gracia, Partner, Rue & Ziffra P.A., 386-788-7700 or lgracia(at)rueziffra(dot)com
Jessica Eckelbarger, Marketing Manager, Rue & Ziffra, 386-788-7700 or jessicae(at)rueziffra(dot)com
Charlene Hager-Van Dyke, Larry Vershel Communications, 386-532-8862, 407-644-4142 or chagervandyke(at)yahoo(dot)com

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