DOCTOR THOUGHT HE COULD HIDE HIS ASSETS
Our firm was retained to collect a debt on behalf of a large medical supply company. A doctor owed them about $30,000.00 for supplies that he had received. He had not stated that he didn’t receive the supplies and didn’t dispute the amount or the quality of the items he received. He just didn’t want to pay. Prior to giving the case to me, the medical supply company had tried to work with him for quite some time. They called the doctor and send him demand letters over many months.
Once we got the case, we started researching the doctor and any businesses or assets that he had. This is a normal part of our practice in these types of cases. We have various subscription and paid databases that we can search to determine what assets a debtor has. Texas has long been known as a debtor friendly state and there really are substantial protections afforded to Texas debtors as compared with other states. Attorneys have to be very familiar with the laws under the Texas Property Code governing personal and real property so they don’t try to collect property that is protected under Texas law. In Texas, certain interests in a corporation are not protected and also most real estate that is not the debtor’s homestead is subject to the reach of the creditor and his attorney.
In this particular matter, we found that the doctor was the sole individual listed who had any connection with a particular corporation on the Texas Secretary of State’s corporation information website. A person has to have subscribed to it and each search is charged. We were able to find that this doctor’s connection to the corporation using this service. Turns out that this corporation owned land which appeared to be a ranch in West Texas. So, we started contacting him at the address in West Texas via certified mail addressed specifically to the doctor. We never found out for sure, but we have a strong suspicion that the doctor got worried we were going to mess up his weekend and holiday plans at the ranch. Whatever the reason was, I do know this-he paid up-100% in full.