Portercare Adventist Health System v. Robert Lego, 2012CO58 (September 24, 2012)

Two months into a three-month hospital stay, a health insurance company stopped paying the bills of the wife of the Respondent. Four years later the hospital sought to collect the amount owed. The Defendant/Respondent claimed that the 3 year statute of limitations should apply and bar the claim. The hospital argued the bill was a “liquidated debt” and therefore subject to the 6 year statute of limitations. The Court reversed the court of appeals citing Rotenberg v. Richards, 899 P.2d 365 (Colo. App. 1995) nine times in a 23 paragraph opinion. It held that in the context of hospital bills, a “liquidated debt” is one ascertainable from the contract itself, or by simple calculation using extrinsic evidence if necessary. Here, because the hospital used a pre-determined market standard and uniform rate subject to disclosure to all patients, the debt was ascertainable using simple math.




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