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TruBridge, L.L.C. v. Tyrone Hospital

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

March 27, 2018

TRUBRIDGE, L.L.C, Plaintiff,
v.
TYRONE HOSPITAL, Defendant.

          TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

          CALLIE V. S. GRANADE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on Defendant's motion for Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) and preliminary injunction. (Doc. 3). The Court notes that counsel for Plaintiff, TruBridge, L.L.C. would have received electronic notice of Defendant's motion yesterday when it was filed. Accordingly, counsel for all parties in this action have notice of the action and the motion for TRO and preliminary injunction. For the reasons explained below, the Court finds that the motion for TRO should be granted and that a hearing should be scheduled on the motion for preliminary injunction.

         I. Background

         This case involves a breach of contract claim concerning a contract to provide accounts receivable management services. Defendant Tyrone Hospital (“Defendant”) moves for TRO against TruBridge, LLC (“Plaintiff”).

         On February 10, 2016, Plaintiff and Defendant (collectively “the parties”) entered into a contract (“the Agreement”) for Plaintiff to provide business, managed information technology, and consulting services to Defendant. (Doc. 1-2, p. 10). On August 9, 2016, the parties modified the Agreement by a Service Addendum (“August Service Addendum”). Id. at p. 42-43. In the August Service Addendum, the parties agreed Plaintiff would provide additional services, including Accounts Receivable Management Services, to Defendant for the next five (5) years. Id. at p. 38; 46. Accounts Receivable Management Services included, inter alia, “the billing of all patients, to include...the billing of all primary and secondary claims to all third party payers.” Id. at p. 44. Furthermore, the August Service Addendum superseded all other written or oral representations between the parties. Id. at 38.

         The parties subsequently amended the Agreement once more by a Service Addendum dated January 5, 2017 (“January Service Addendum”). Id. at pp. 51-53. In the January Service Addendum, the parties agreed to remove Clinic A/R from the scope of services Plaintiff was to provide to Defendant. Id. at p. 52. Notwithstanding the January Service Addendum, all other terms, conditions, and obligations specified in the Agreement were to remain fully in force. Id. at 52.

         On February 22, 2018, Defendant's Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Peluso, sent a letter to Plaintiff's President and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Fowler, advising Plaintiff that Defendant was terminating the Agreement. (Doc. 2-1, p. 2). As grounds for termination, Defendant alleged, “We recently discovered that to date there are 1, 061 Medicaid claims which have not been billed by TruBridge, LLC dating back to July 2017, totaling $2, 278, 249.20 in charges as of February 19, 2018.” Id. Defendant claims it has made numerous attempts to resolve its issues with Plaintiff, but Plaintiff failed to timely bill claims. Id. Plaintiff, however, asserts it “has performed its promises under the Amended Agreement in all material respects and remains able to do so for the remainder of the contract term.” (Doc. 1-1 ¶ 13). Accordingly, Plaintiff alleges Defendant breached the Agreement by renouncing its obligations and refusing to perform under the Agreement. Id. at ¶ 18.

         In its motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction, Defendant requests that this Court: 1) grant Defendant permission to immediately contract with another billing firm, 2) release accounts so Defendant may pursue collections on its own, 3) freeze any assets and/or accounts Plaintiff holds for Defendant, 4) order Plaintiff to remit any and all sums due to Defendant under the Agreement as such sums are received and to segregate and account for the percentage to which Plaintiff would be entitled but for its breach, 5) order Plaintiff to immediately cease and desist any and all collection activity of behalf of Defendant, 6) order Plaintiff to immediately turnover and release to Defendant any and all records of Defendant's accounts, 7) order Plaintiff to provide a complete accounting of collections and remittances for any and all accounts placed with Plaintiff for collection, and 8) permit Defendant to rehire its former employees presently employed by Plaintiff without incurring the penalty specified in Section 7(A) of the Agreement.

         II. Legal Standard

         This Court previously noted the applicable standard for preliminary injunctive relief in Hammock ex rel. Hammock v. Keys, 93 F.Supp.2d 1222 (S.D. Ala. 2000):

A party seeking a preliminary injunction must establish the following four factors: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a threat of irreparable injury; (3) that its own injury would outweigh the injury to the nonmovant; and (4) that the injunction would not disserve the public interest. Tefel v. Reno, 180 F.3d 1286, 1295 (11th Cir.1999); McDonald's Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301, 1306 (11th Cir.1998). The Court should be mindful that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy not to be granted unless the movant has clearly satisfied the burden of persuasion as to the four requisites. McDonald's, 147 F.3d at 1306; Northeastern Fl. Chapter of the Ass'n of Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, 896 F.2d 1283, 1285 (11th Cir.1990).

Id., at 1226-27. The same standard applies to a request for a temporary restraining order as to a request for a preliminary injunction. Morgan Stanley DW, Inc., v. Frisby, 163 F.Supp.2d 1371, 1374 (N.D.Ga. 2001) (citing Ingram v. Ault, 50 F.3d 898, 900 (11th Cir. 1995)).

         III. Analysis

         1. Substantial likelihood of ...


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