Venue at issue in lawsuit

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A federal judge is being asked to decide which court should preside over a potential class action lawsuit against MCG Health Inc.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood heard from opposing attorneys in the Augusta federal court. She took the issue under advisement but encouraged the attorneys to try to reach an agreement on their own.

The MCG Health attorneys contend the lawsuit should be in federal court. The plaintiff attorneys argue the case belongs in a state court.

In the lawsuit, Donna and Hurley Perry of Evans and Manuel and Shirley Weisman of Augusta allege that MCG Health has unfairly pursued them for payments they say should have been covered by their health insurance.

The Perrys and Weismans were injured in unrelated traffic accidents in 2006. They were treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital's trauma center.

MCG has not filed a response to the lawsuit yet. On Wednesday, attorney David Hudson argued that the case belongs in federal court because the potential plaintiffs can include patients covered by private insurance as well as TriCare, Medicaid and Medicare.

Plaintiff attorney John Bell argued, however, that the case is based on the legal aspects of contracts, which is a state matter.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.


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