Tennessee doctor alleges Stericycle wrongfully raises fees

By Robbie Hargett | Mar 19, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) – A Tennessee man is suing a medical waste removal services company over claims it wrongfully raises its fees annually.

Dr. Kush Frenchman, individually and for all others similarly situated, filed a class-action lawsuit Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville against Stericycle Inc., alleging breach of contract, violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud & Deceptive Business Practices Act.

The suit states that Stericycle, which provides waste pickup and disposal to approximately 541,000 customers worldwide, divides its customers into two categories: large-quantity and small-quantity waste generators.

When Stericycle acquires a new small-quantity customer, it offers a standard form Steri-Safe Contract, which lists the flat fee the customer pays on a monthly or quarterly basis, the suit states. The contract allegedly provides that Stericycle can increase the flat fee under limited conditions, including when accounting for "operational changes," "documented changes in the law," or "cost escalation."

Despite these clear limitations, the suit states Stericycle engaged in a systematic and deliberate practice of raising fees based on an automatic price increase of 18 percent during a calendar year.

These price increases allegedly were not related to Stericycle's "operational changes," "documented changes in the law," or "cost escalation."

Additionally, Stericycle allegedly also increased its prices by imposing several fees and surcharges, which Stericycle hid by embedding them in the flat fee.

Frenchman and others in the class seek actual and compensatory damages, interests, attorney fees, and other costs of the suit. They are represented by attorneys F. Dulin Kelly and Clinton L. Kelly of The Kelly Firm in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville Case number 1:16-CV-02883

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