APPEAL FROM THE ALLEN SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Jennifer L. DeGroote, Magistrate. Cause No. 02D01-1307-SC-13917.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: DUSTIN D. STOHLER, MARIETTO MASSILLAMANY, DECA Financial Services, LLC, Fishers, Indiana.
BRADFORD, Judge. RILEY, J., and ROBB, J., concur.
Appellant-Plaintiff DECA Financial Services, LLC (" DECA" ) appeals the trial court's denial of attorney's fees as part of its small claims judgment against Appellee-Defendant Tina Gray. DECA is the assignee of debt owed by Gray to Emergency Medicine of Indiana, PC (" Emergency Medicine" ) for medical services rendered while Gray was a patient at Dupont Hospital (" Dupont" ). Gray incurred a separate debt to Dupont during her hospital stay. Gray also entered into an agreement with Dupont that obligated her to pay attorney's fees incurred by Dupont in collecting its debt. DECA argues that Emergency Medicine is a third party beneficiary of this agreement and, therefore, claims DECA is entitled to attorney's fees pursuant to the agreement's terms. We conclude that the attorney's fees provision of the agreement applies only to Dupont and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On March 10, 2010, Gray received medical services from physicians employed by Emergency Medicine while she was a patient at Dupont. During her hospital stay, Gray and Dupont entered into an agreement (" the Agreement" ) that included the following provisions:
ASSIGNMENT OF INSURANCE BENEFITS/PROMISE TO PAY:
I hereby assign and authorize payment directly to the Facility, and to any facility-based physician, all insurance benefits, sick benefits, injury benefits due because of liability of a third-party, or proceeds of all claims resulting from the liability of a third party, payable by any party, organization, et cetera, to or for the patient unless the account for this Facility, outpatient visit or series of outpatient visits is paid in full upon discharge or upon completion of the outpatient series. If eligible for Medicare, I request Medicare services and benefits. I further agree that this assignment will not be withdrawn or voided at any time until the account is paid in full. I understand that I am responsible for any charges not covered by my insurance company [(" Paragraph 1" )].
I understand that I am obligated to pay the account of the Facility in accordance with the regular rates and terms of the Facility. If I fail to make payment when due and the account becomes delinquent or is turned over to a collection agency or an attorney for collection, I agree to pay all collection agency fees, court costs and attorney's fees. I also agree that any patient or guarantor overpayments on the above Facility visit may be applied directly to any delinquent account for which I or my guarantor is legally responsible at the time of the collection of the overpayment. I consent for the Facility to appeal on my behalf any denial for reimbursement, coverage, or payment for services or care provided to me [(" Paragraph 2" )].
Appellant's App. p. 13.
Dupont and Emergency Medicine each billed Gray for the respective services they rendered to Gray during her hospital stay. A balance ...