By Brian Casey, staff writer

July 3, 2012 -- A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by a Nevada law firm against defunct whole-body scanning center operator Heart Check America (HCA). Former HCA customers who got loans from Chase Bank to finance their scanning packages will have their debts erased, with Chase allocating $4 million for the settlement.

Heart Check America offered whole-body scanning packages to healthy patients for terms of up to 10 years. The scans were designed to detect diseases ranging from heart disease to colon cancer and cost up to $3,995, with many HCA clients financing the deals through loans from Chase Bank and other lenders.

HCA collapsed in May 2011, however, under pressure from state regulators who were following up on complaints from the firm's customers. Many HCA clients claimed that they weren't able to schedule their exams after the firm shut its doors, and a number of HCA's Nevada customers, represented by attorney George O. West III of Las Vegas, filed suit against the firm and Chase Bank.

On June 4, West's lawsuit was given class-action status by the District Court for Clark County, Nevada, and a settlement with Chase Bank was given preliminary approval. Under terms of the settlement, Chase agreed to refund 100% of any amounts paid to the bank in connection with Heart Check America services for anyone who used a ChaseHealthAdvance account between March 1, 2009, and May 31, 2011.

Individuals who paid cash for HCA services or who received financing from firms other than Chase are not eligible for the settlement. West's law firm estimates that the class-action settlement covers some 1,500 individuals, including those from California, Illinois, and Colorado in addition to Nevada.

Chase has agreed to pay a total of $4 million in cash and debt cancellation to settle claims related to HCA, and it agreed to eliminate any outstanding balances on ChaseHealthAdvance accounts incurred for Heart Check America services. The settlement calls for former Heart Check America customers to be notified of the settlement via first class mail sent to their last known address. Former customers can also request to opt out of the settlement.

Damage amounts will be prorated for the number of scans that Heart Check America customers received; for example, if an HCA customer opened a $3,000 ChaseHealthAdvance account in February 2010, his or her damages would be reduced by 20%, as it would be assumed that the customer received two of the 10 scans HCA was supposed to provide under the contract.

West's law firm indicated that HCA is still a defendant in the litigation, but the company apparently is insolvent and is no longer a going concern. Claims for HCA customers who had their scanning packages financed by firms other than Chase are being handled separately, the law firm said.

Copyright © 2012

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