County judge orders work comp collections case removed to District Court

This afternoon a County Court judge sustained my motion to transfer a collections case from a workers comp related medical bill to District Court in order for me to ask for injunctive relief. You can read the reasoning behind my motion and why it helps debtors by reading my post from yesterday. In short,  District and County Court’s have concurrent jurisdiction in civil cases under $45,000 in Nebraska. County courts do not have general equitable jurisdiction but District Courts do.  In a previous hearing, the County Court determined I didn’t have a statutory or case law basis to dispute the right for a provider to collect on medical bills in a disputed workers compensation case.  Since I had no legal remedy, I asked for the right to transfer to District Court to pursue an injunction against collecting the unpaid medical bill.  Since equitable relief is not available in County Court, the court has no choice but to remove the case to District Court under Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2706. I also argued that denying my client the chance to pursue available equitable relief would be a due process violation. In granting the motion, the Judge commented that moving the case to District Court would not prejudice the creditor because they still had the right to a trial in District Court.

The threat of injunctive relief in a work comp related collections case gives injured workers more leverage in their negotiations with bill collectors. Hopefully more advocates for injured workers will use this tool to protect their clients.

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