This is how it works: First there is a pre-trial
conference (PTC) at which one says whether or not one disputes the case and if so then a trial date is set.
My PTC was held on Thursday March 10, 2005. At that hearing, despite my having written to Accelerated
Receivables Management, Inc., (ARM) of Jacksonville, Florida, giving chapter and verse of what had happened
to me at the hands of the Mayo Clinic, ARM’s attorney, Francine Clair Landau, Esq., said she knew nothing
of it whatsoever and would refer back to the Mayo Clinic and let me know if the matter would be pursued or dropped.
At the PTC the trial date was set for Thursday May 12, 2005. Ms. Landau told the judge she would not be
calling any witnesses (to see the court document stating this, click the link* below). Eventually, after repeated
requests to Ms. Landau for an answer I received a letter two days before the court date saying that the Mayo Clinic was going ahead with the suit.
from Ms. Landau (to see it click the link* below) did acknowledge the short notice and gave me the opportunity of deferring
the hearing. However, I live in the country and had already made arrangements that would have been very
inconvenient, if not impossible to alter, so I had to proceed. I did wonder if the delay was just a subterfuge
to put me off balance. However, I always like to think the best of people so, upon reflection,
decided that Ms. Landau, being an attorney,
an officer of the court and member of the Florida Bar, would not demean herself by stooping to such an underhanded ploy.
I went to the court Thursday May 12, 2005 and was astonished to see that Ms. Landau had called two witnesses
from the Mayo Clinic and was “prepping” them in the hall outside the chambers of Judge Roberto A. Arias.
The hearing was held in his chambers and was quite friendly and informal. Ms. Landau started off by asking the
Mayo Clinic people who they were, if they worked for the Mayo Clinic and, as I recall, if they knew about the billing.
I pointed out to Ms. Landau that she had said she would not be calling any witnesses and I showed her the court document to
this effect (to see the court document stating this, click the link* below). Subsequently, someone who works for the
U.S. Dept. of Justice told me that the Mayo Clinic/ARM may have been trying to run up the costs and that I should refer the
matter to the Ethics Committee of the Florida Bar Association. However, as I said, I always like to think the best of
people and I just couldn’t believe that an attorney and officer of the court would do such a petty thing deliberately,
so I decided that it was just an honest mistake and let it go. But I did think Ms. Francine Claire Landau’s
questioning of the Mayo Clinic people quite pointless, especially since I had written reams to ARM about the Mayo Clinic’s
mistreatment of me and their billing. Also the people from the Mayo Clinic were looking increasingly uncomfortable,
so to put them at their ease and save everyone's time I said I would accept that I had been in the Mayo Clinic and had
I explained that the Mayo Clinic had punctured my stomach in two places by mistake
and that I didn’t think I should have to pay for any of the consequences resulting from that mistake.
I tried to introduce documents from the CDC. Also from the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel stating
that bedsores are entirely preventable together with other documents but Ms. Landau objected to everything.
Then she objected to a statement my wife had prepared. Without going into all the ins and outs it became
apparent that Ms. Landau was going to object to everything I said. I showed the judge the letter
where they said they would cancel the bill, the amount I paid the Mayo Clinic and the items on the bill that
weren’t related to the heart surgery. Would you believe that some were disallowed because
I’m not a doctor and was therefore was unable to prove that the items were unrelated to heart surgery?
Apparently, in the US legal system, commonsense doesn’t count for much and the three operations on my abdomen and my infections and illnesses were a result of
Anyway, the judge explained to me that we live in litigious times, he agreed with me that
the Mayo Clinic had not been gentlemanly and said that he was going to take the matter under advisement so
I told everyone, especially the couple from the Mayo Clinic (who were looking even more embarrassed and uncomfortable
by the minute) that I held no personal animus towards them and left, leaving them all having a little conference.
In the event the judge reduced the bill to $1525, plus $175
There's supposed to be a legal precept: "He who comes to court seeking equity should come with
clean hands." I've yet to hear from anyone who says the Mayo Clinic had clean hands. Although
every American is said to be guaranteed his day in court, I leave it to you to decide if he is also guaranteed fairness and