Contributed by Paul Welk, Esquire
In Liss & Marion PC v. Recordex Acquisition Corp., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court examined whether a class of law firms who requested medical records could recover alleged overcharges from a copying services company hired by medical care providers to fulfill their record requests. The Supreme Court’s opinion affirmed the lower court’s finding of summary judgment in favor of the class and against the copying services company.
Among its allegations, the law firms asserted that the copying services company was in breach of the contract because it improperly charged the rate for microfilm copies for copies of electronic records. As to the breach of contract claim, the Court sided with the law firms in finding that this claim was based in contract and not under the Pennsylvania Medical Records Act (MRA), which does not provide a statutory remedy to recover the overages. In addition to establishing that a proper contract claim had been filed, the Court examined whether charging Rate M (microfilm) rather than Rate D (the default rate) for copies of electronic records was a breach of underlying contract. The copying services company argued that the language of the MRA which states that prices "for paper copies" shall not exceed Rate D should be read to mean "from paper records" only. Therefore, the copying services company argued, the MRA does not provide a specific rate for copies from electronic records, thus allowing copying services companies to charge a "reasonable" rate. In rejecting this argument, the court noted that the statutory language was clear and that when providing paper copies from any medium, the rate should be Rate D, with the only exception being copies from microfilm.