Editor's note: A previous headline for this story incorrectly stated that MedCom had been awarded the judgement.
A federal judge last week awarded $766,100 to Pulaski County Medical Exchange of Little Rock after its pending sale turned into a federal court battle that included a racketeering claim.
If you recall, last year PCME sued the would-be buyer MedCom Medical Messaging Inc. of Dallas, and its CEO, Chase Wright, along with a Ronald Ray Brock, over allegations that they never intended on paying $5.9 million for PCME.
PCME said in its court filings that Wright is actually Brock, and Brock is a “known hijacker of telephone answer service business.” PCME was represented by the Little Rock law firm of Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus.
PCME is an answering service business that serves doctors, hospitals and patients in central Arkansas. Only Pulaski County Medical Society members are eligible for exchange privileges.
PCME said the defendants were supposed to pay for the assets on Dec. 31, 2021, but never did.
Making matters worse, on Jan. 11, 2022, Wright ordered the firing of some employees and removed every file from PCME’s computer system, according to an order from Judge Billy Roy Wilson filed last week.
PCME then decided to cancel the sale to MedCom. But MedCom continued to interfere with the business, even after Wilson entered a temporary restraining order against it, according to Wilson’s order.
PCME filed a lawsuit against the defendants and accused them of fraud. PCME later added a civil Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act claim.
The defendants didn’t bother to answer the complaint, resulting in a default judgment against them in January. All PCME had to do next was prove its damages, which it said includes credits provided to customers and lost revenue. PCME said it was entitled to up to three times the amount of damages under the RICO statute.
Wilson agreed. “The facts in the Amended Complaint demonstrate a common purpose among Defendants of illegally enriching themselves instead of operating legitimate businesses,” Wilson wrote. “The undisputed facts also show there is an ongoing organization with Defendants functioning for this common purpose.”
Wilson found that PCME sustained damages of $236,073, but because of the anti-racketeering claim, that bumped the damages up to $708,220. He also awarded $56,373 in attorneys’ fees and $1,511 in court costs for a total judgment of $766,103.
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision and award," PCME's Executive Director Derek Rudkin, said in an email statement to Whispers. PCME “is committed to protecting the doctors and patients that use our services, and we are hopeful this case will help prevent future business hijackings in our industry. We are currently operating without interruption and will continue our mission of supporting Arkansas providers and the patients they serve.”