About – updated 6/4/10

On 4/25/08 one of my client’s four kids had major dental work done at Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. They have 5 offices with 8 doctors:

According to the 6/11/08 Delta Dental Explanation of Benefits,  Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery had billed $2,214.  As is common practice, the uninsured get fleeced by doctors and hospitals and have to pay MORE for identical services than patients with insurance and the Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery invoice was reduced by $346 pursuant to their contract with Delta Dental.

Delta Dental paid 80% of the $1,868 invoice, but Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery failed to apply the $1.454 Delta payment to my client’s account.

My client was going through divorce, had four children to take care of and she was too busy to be the unpaid accountant for Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.  They decided to retain Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin, P.C. to sue my client.

On 9/17/08, a few months later, attorney William R. Cawthorn filed suit on behalf of Zussman, Smith, Dolan, Lane Silloway & Park, D.D.S., P.C. (Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery) for the amount of $2,399 + $53 for costs and $719.70 for attorneys fees.

They obtained a default judgment and on 3/25/09 filed for garnishment.

On 4/23/09, my client notified the Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery lawyers of the Delta insurance payment and she even provided the 6/11/08 Delta Benefits Explanation of Benefits.  She requested that they verify this payment and she advised that she actually only owed $413.60. She also wrote:

I would like to discuss how to best forward payment for that amount to your client, as well as having the judgment marked as paid and also marked as filed in error.

On 5/11/09, Stephanie L. Bernard with Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin sent my client a statement with the insurance credit, claiming that the total due was $1,521.41.   They credited the insurance adjustment on 5/12/09 INSTEAD of when it was actually received by Zussman, Smith, Dolan, Lane, Silloway & Park — PRIOR to the lawsuit!

My client then called Ms. Bernard and she agreed to adjust the fees to reflect the actual amount owed.  However, instead of sending a revised statement, they then garnished my client’s wages and they received $1,614 for this $413.00 bill.

In my opinion (I’m not an attorney, but a credit / collections expert) that action in itself warrants disbarment of the responsible attorney.  They KNEW that the bulk of the bill was paid by Delta Dental prior to the lawsuit, yet Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin decided to DEFRAUD the consumer.

I see  NUMEROUS violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in addition to the outright FRAUD.

Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin FAILED to provide corrected accounting after my client spoke with Ms. Bernard and they subjected her to the humiliation and embarrassment of wage garnishment and they received $1,614 through garnishment in summer 2009.

My client contacted me to improve her credit and this judgment was NOT reported as paid.

My client submitted her factual disputes to the credit bureaus and they VERIFIED that that the judgment was not paid.

After my client explained what happened I requested accounting from Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin and legal assistant Barbara Mann provided accounting on 4/23/10. They had CLOSED the account with a $20.51 balance.

My 4/26/10: My fax to Cawthorn regarding accounting discrepancies

Even after I contacted them, they REFUSED to vacate the judgment and FAILED to provide accurate accounting.

Ms. Mann responded that they would ONLY refund $542.27 (less than the fraudulent charges) and that they would NOT pay my $300 fee.

Ms. Mann had the audacity to blame my client for not acting as the unpaid Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery accountant!

She also wrote:

… We have satisfied this judgment with the court but are not a credit reporting agency.  Ms. [redacted] will have to follow-up with the credit bureau as far as the satisfaction showing on her credit file. …

However, the credit bureaus recently VERIFIED that the judgment has NOT been paid!

On 5/3/10, I requested a copy of the filed document from Ms. Mann.  I received no reply.

… The online court records showed the judgment as unpaid and the credit bureaus SHOULD have updated their records promptly after you filed the satisfaction of judgment.

Could you please fax or email the filed document so that my client can submit it to the credit bureaus and have the court correct the record?

Thanks,

Christine

I received no reply.  I emailed my request to Ms. Mann again on 5/6/10.  Again, I received no reply.

I suspect that Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin FAILED to timely notify the court of the satisfaction of judgment.   According to my client’s attorney, there is a $50 fine for failing to notify the court within 30 days of payment.   I certainly cannot think of a legitimate reason for Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin to not provide the documentation so that she can provide it to the credit bureaus.

On 5/18/10,  I requested comments from Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. 

Subject: Notice of publications and request for comments

Hi,

Please provide me with contact information for your management as I am publishing a dispute due to your failure to credit an insurance payment to my client [REDACTED]’s  account, resulting in a judgment and overpayment by my client.

I am NOT an attorney, but I document scams, frauds and illegal and unethical conduct at my websites.

Since I received no response from your attorneys at Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin to my last two emails, I would like to know whether you are aware of this dispute, whether you had received the overpayment or whether your attorneys kept it and whether your attorneys acted on your direction when they refused to vacated the judgment and to refund all excessive fees as well as my fee.

I hope to make the new blog public today and I am giving you the opportunity to submit your statement regarding this dispute.

Sincerely,

Christine Baker

Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery referred me to their attorneys:

It is our understanding that as recent as May 3, 2010, you have corresponded with our attorneys,  Cawthorn and Picard.  Please continue to direct all communication to their office at (804) 320-7186.

They are definitely an outfit to avoid like the plague.

5/26/10: My client had a family emergency and just got back, so I waited to make this doctor and attorney fraud documentary public.  My client received their $542.27 check (not the full amount owed), but she has NOT received new accounting and apparently both Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin don’t feel that it is necessary to make this incredible wrong right.

To date, my client has not even received an apology!

My recommendations to my client:

  • File a complaint with the VA Bar about Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin — they need to be stopped.
  • Retain an attorney to sue Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin, the responsible attorneys and Barbara Mann for fraud, violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and possibly Virginia state law.
  • Sue the Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and the responsible doctor.
  • Submit NEGATIVE ratings for Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at ratings websites and post their outrageous misconduct at sites such as http://www.ratemds.com/
  • File a complaint with the Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and/or their doctors’ licensing agencies.

Conclusion:

Anybody can make a mistake — but if you sue a patient for money already PAID, at the very least apologize and refund not only the overpayment, but some extra to compensate for the damages.   Instead of making things right, Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery garnished the wages (talk about HUMILIATION and EMBARRASSMENT!) after my client ADVISED of their mistake and submitted proof of the insurance payment!

They didn’t even vacate the judgment, didn’t send a full refund and didn’t even pay the $300 my client paid to me after her own WRITTEN notice and phone calls FAILED to get results.

I hope we’ll see more lawsuits like Miller v. Upton, Cohen & Slamowitz.  Judge Mauskopf made an excellent ruling against these notorious collection lawyers on 9/30/09:  Memorandum, Decision, and Order after Bench Trial.

Cohen & Slamowitz is facing over $200,000 in legal fees and costs and maybe they’ll go out of business like several other collection law firms.

While I hope that my client will sue Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin and Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, I’m doing my part to ensure that the public knows how they do business.

Consumers are expected to not only pay their bills, but to pay them on time.  When you’re a few weeks late with a payment, you’ll likely be punished with a late payment on your credit report for seven years and you may have to pay higher interest rates and insurance premiums and you might even  be declined for housing and jobs.

To level the playing field, I document and publish the Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin and Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery fraud.  Readers will know what to expect at Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.

I still have many questions about the Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery accounting practices.

  • Why did they NOT apply the insurance payment to my client’s account?
  • Why did they NOT fire Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin when they found out about the garnishment?
  • Why did they KEEP the overpayment?
  • Why do they feel they’re entitled to reimbursement of collection costs, but refuse to pay MY fee after THEY royally screwed up?

We will of course post any answers and updates.

Update 6/2/10:

On 5/18/10 I sent my notice of publication to Fairfax Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Cawthorn, Picard, Rowe, Deskevich & Gavin.

To date I have NOT received a response.

Update 6/4/10:

When I checked the online court records today, the judgment FINALLY showed as satisfied as of 6/3/10. If they had vacated the judgment, my client would be a lot happier.  I hope she submits her complaints as outlined in my recommendations above and sues.



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