The Guam Memorial Hospital says the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because it involves a contractual dispute between two parties.
Guam – The Guam Memorial Hospital is once again responding to a class action lawsuit filed against them by a Compact migrant for garnishment of tax refunds.
In it, the hospital’s legal counsel pokes holes at the plaintiff’s arguments on why GMH should not garnish tax refunds of Freely Associated States migrants.
In the lawsuit, the Guam Memorial Hospital’s legal counsel, Minakshi Hemlani, makes certain points about the plaintiff’s arguments.
The lawsuit was brought on by a Chuukese citizen who’s suing GMH for garnishment of her tax refunds because of her unpaid hospital bills.
The plaintiff, Tairin Atesom, believes that because the hospital gets reimbursement—partial as it may be—from the federal government as part of the Compact of Free Association, GMH should not be able to collect twice on her debt, once from her and once from the federal government.
But the hospital says that logic is absurd. “By Plaintiff’s logic, Compact Impact funding is not meant to assist Guam’s public education and social service providers, but should instead be applied as payment for FSM citizens’ personal expenses—and to what end? Is Atesom suggesting that the federal government reimburse expenses for groceries, clothing and legal fees as well?” Hemlani writes.
Furthermore, GMH criticizes the lawsuit for appearing to patronize the hospital at one point by saying GMH was big hearted when it “went ahead and did the right thing” … “well knowing that probably plaintiff could not afford to pay.”
“It was not being big hearted in providing medical services to Plaintiff and her family,” Hemlani says. “It was simply following the law and its mission.”
GMH is asking the District Court again to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
They also argue that by allowing Atesom to bring what they believe is a personal contractual dispute to the District Court, it would open the door for any FSM citizen on Guam to bring all contractual and collection claims to the federal courts.
You can read GMH’s opposition by clicking on the file below.