Mathis and Murphy, P.A.On February 8th, 2013, I received three documents from Mathis & Murphy, P.A. which I needed to have signed and notarized. Two of the documents were to be completed by me and one was for my sister. On February 20th at 6:06 AM, Kristen Dobbins (legal assistant to Jill Bechtold, Esquire) sent me the following email:


Hello David:

I just wanted to let you know that we received the signed document from your sister and will be sending out all of the documents to the court today.

If you have any questions please let me know. Thanks!

Kristen B. Dobbins


I replied at 8:58 am:


Thank you, Kristen.

Can you tell me what the next step is? How long does the court and / or Woodland Terrace have to respond to these documents?


David Vincent Gagne


On February 21st, 2013 at 7:08 am, I received the following email from Jill:



Kristen forwarded me your email below.

The court will generally take 2 weeks based on my discussions with the clerk of court. Unfortunately we had to file the estate in Volusia County and could not file in Duval County. I was hopeful we could do it here because it would be cheaper; however, Duval County won’t allow it because your mother never lived here.

Because we have to file in Volusia, we have to do a full administration at a cost of $400. If we had done it here, we would only have to do a summary administration at $235.00 because our local judge will name a personal representative in a summary administration unlike the judges in the other counties. In short, filing in Volusia made it slightly more expensive but the amount of time should be the same. The documents were sent yesterday (after I got your sister’s documents) and we have a calendar tickler to call them next Friday to check on status. Volusia County is not on electronic docket, so we have to call them to see the status and cannot check online.

After we get the court records, I can forward the letter directly to the attorney. I anticipate that he will get the records within 1-2 weeks, if not shorter.

This is my best guess as of right now, but all of these dates can be shorter or longer. I will let you know when we receive any information from the court.

Please feel free to call me with any questions,



I replied to her a few minutes later:



Thank you very much for this information.

If I understand correctly, all of this is simply to establish that I am, in fact, legally justified to request my mother’s medical records from Woodland Terrace (and, I assume, anywhere else). So once this is completed you will be able to force them to deliver the records.

I do not have words to convey how incredibly frustrating and infuriating and insulting this entire process has been. I cannot thank you enough for how professional and competent your firm has proved to be since I started working with you.


David Vincent Gagne


At 9:08 am she responded:



Thank you for kind words.

Unfortunately you are correct that this entire mess is simply to establish, by law, that you are legally justified to your mother’s records. After HIPAA was passed, the providers went into overdrive protecting information because the fines are so steep for violating the law.

We will continue to press forward on getting the records and let you know new information as it is received.

Thanks you again,



Just before one o’clock in the afternoon on March 1, 2013, Jill sent me this short message, with the subject line “Telephone Conference”:


I contacted the clerk and we now have a case number. She said the information is with the Court (meaning Judge), so hopefully we hear something soon.

Just FYI-


I replied immediately with:



Thanks for the update. That’s great news.

As I understand it, once the Court agrees to appoint me the legal representative of my mom’s “estate”, then Woodland Terrace — or any other facility — will be compelled to release her medical records to me. Is that correct?



And then just a few minutes later she replied:


Yes. At that point we will have the letter of administration that they want and then they have to release the records.

All of this hoop jumping is for the letter (it’s actually an order by the court, but they call it a letter).


At about eleven o’clock in the morning on March 6th, 2013, Jill emailed me (and copied my sister) with the subject line “Consent”:


Dear Jennifer and David,

I received notice today from the Court that they want a change made to Jennifer’s affidavit of consent. They wanted us to expressly write that Jennifer waived her right to priority and waive right to bond. The affidavit currently implies that by making David the personal representative, but I guess they want it in writing. I have made the change and attached the new copy hereto. I spoke with the clerk of the probate department and once they receive this consent, the letter of administration should be executed (they approved all of our other pleadings and requested no additional changes). Unfortunately, we have to say “how high” when they ask us to jump.

Jennifer- I am sorry to ask you to do this again, but could you please sign and notarize the attached and mail the original back?

Thanks to you both~


Attached: Consent.020813.docx


I thought it was odd that the document she attached appeared to be dated a month earlier. I replied to her just before two o’clock with:


Dear Jill,

Jenny and I exchanged text messages shortly after you sent this email and she told me she would be able to get this done today or tomorrow and you should have her notarized copy as soon as possible.

I’m actually back and forth between Daytona and Orlando right now; […] my wife and son and I are in Florida staying with my in-laws. If there is anything you need me to do in person, please do let me know. I will be here at least through the weekend.

It’s been very, very traumatic for me to be back in the state for the first time since my mom’s death. It’s been well over six months now and I feel like I still can’t believe it. It’s just so unfair and I am so angry and sad.

Thank you sincerely,


Two hours later, Jill replied to me with this quick note:


I can’t imagine how difficult this must be. I will be on the lookout for the consent and forward it ASAP to the court.

Thank you for your patience with the process. I know this part has been challenging and irritating.



Just before one o’clock in the afternoon on March 11th, Jill emailed me:


We received the consent today and have it ready for sending to Volusia this afternoon.



I replied twenty minutes later:


Thanks for the update, Jill.

Once you’ve sent it to the judge, how long do you think it will be until you receive a response?



At 1:23 PM Jill responded with simply:


A week or less.


That meant that we should have received a response by the 18th or so. I emailed this to Jill on March 20th at 2:16 PM:


Hey Jill,

Have you received a response yet?


Jill replied on March 21st at 6:15 AM:


We have not. I have a call out to the clerk. Let you know what I hear.


At 7:23 AM on March 25th — a full two weeks later — Jill wrote me:


The clerk said that it should be on the Judge’s desk in the next few days and she has pulled it and put it to the top.

Fingers crossed, I anticipate some news at the end of this week.


At two o’clock in the afternoon that day, I replied to her:


Dear Jill,

I guess it’s just very difficult for me to understand why everything seems to always take so long. It’s now been well over seven full months since my mom’s death, and every single day I have tried to do something to get someone to care, and every single day I have cried because she should not have died.

Please understand: I promise that I know that your firm has only been involved with the case for about three months now, and I am certainly not complaining about you or anyone at Mathis & Murphy, P.A. I am just frustrated.

Our mom is *dead* and somebody at some point grossly misrepresented facts to me about her death, yet since the moment she died it has been like pulling teeth to get anyone to care. (Again: I am not talking about you.)

Please, please let me know the moment you hear anything.

Thank you,


On March 29th, at 11:09 AM, after waiting three weeks, I wrote Jill:


Dear Jill,

Has there been any word from the judge yet?

Is there anything at all that I can do to pester, bullyrag, or harass someone to take action?

Thank you sincerely,


At 10:25 AM on April 2nd, I followed that with:


Dear Jill,

Please, please can you let me know if anything is happening here?

Even if you have no new information, please at least confirm receipt of my emails.

Thank you sincerely,


And then at 10:22 AM on April 3rd, I sent the exact same message:


Dear Jill,

Please, please can you let me know if anything is happening here?

Even if you have no new information, please at least confirm receipt of my emails.

Thank you sincerely,


Apparently Jill was having some sort of email problems. At 1:38 PM on April 3rd I received an email from her asking if I was receiving her emails, and in it she included a message she had sent me just before ten o’clock that morning:



The clerk confirmed for me this morning that the file is on the judge’s desk. The clerk indicated that if may be till Thursday before he signs.

I am sorry they are taking so long….



She also called me and we spoke on the phone for a few minutes. She explained that she had replied to both of my two most-recent messages but her office was experiencing some sort of email issue. Jill was very nice and said that now the ball was rolling and things should start happening more quickly now.

At 1:19 PM on April 10th — almost exactly a month after I had been told it would take a week — Jill sent me the following message:


Please see attached. We got the order an today and I forwarded it to the attorney for Woodland.

Attachment: 4050624000_20130410_165549_48.pdf


The attachment included a document from the Seventh Judicial Court for Volusia County, Florida, Probate Division, titled ORDER ON ADMINISTRATION AND APPOINTING PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE. It basically states that I am officially the “personal representative” of mom.

I responded about fifteen minutes later with:




Thank you, Jill!

What is the next step? What do we do now? How long do we wait for a response from the Woodland Terrace attorney?


About five minutes after that, she replied:


I say two weeks. It could be shorter, but usually it does take a few weeks to get them.

Glad we got it!


I responded right away with:


Okay. Hopefully I will hear from you before then, but I doubt they are going to do anything with any sense of urgency until compelled.

Thanks, Jill.


Just shy of two weeks after that, at 10:37 AM on April 22nd, 2013, I wrote Jill:


Dear Jill,

Tomorrow will make an even two weeks since the attorney for Woodland Terrace was notified.

What do we need to do now to compel them to release the information?

Please understand that words cannot possibly convey how upset I am about this.



At 1:20 PM she replied:


I contacted the attorney and he believes we should have something by the end of this week.

I know you are frustrated, but let’s try to sit tight till the end of the week.




I waited until Thursday, the 25th, and wrote Jill at 10:14 AM:


Dear Jill,

Sadly and with much frustration, I am almost certain that we are not going to hear anything from the attorney for Woodland Terrace today or tomorrow.

Assuming that is the case, can you tell me what the next step will be and when?

I’d also like to know if it is possible to acquire my mother’s medical records from Fish Memorial Hospital Deland. (She was there less than 48 hours before her death, and — of course — that is also where she was sent by Woodland Terrace the day she died.) Can we get any documentation from the paramedics company that transported her to the hospital on the day she died? (We still do not know if anyone attempted at Woodland Terrace attempted to revive her or if they simply called the paramedics; or if the paramedics made any attempt to revive her, etc.)

Thanks in advance,


At nine o’clock in the morning of April 29th I forwarded that same message to Jill and above it wrote simply:



Please respond.



At 8:50 AM on April 30th I forwarded the same message again to Jill Bechtold and this time I copied Jennifer Workman, Jill’s assistant who had sent me an email several months ago. I wrote:



Is something wrong? Please respond.


At 9:45 AM my phone rang. It was Jennifer Workman and she was very polite and kind. She told me that she received my email and wanted to get in touch with me because Jill is no longer with the law firm. (She said the split was amicable and that Jill’s last day was Friday, which was the 26th.)

Jill told me that Kelly Mathis himself was going to be “taking over” the case, and that he was at lunch but would get in touch with me before the end of the day.

Jill told me that I could always call her and that I should do so any time I felt like I was not getting a quick reply. Again, I should stress that Jill was incredibly nice and seemed to really care. It is very frustrating that Jill didn’t let me know she was leaving.

At 10:19 AM I received an email from Kelly Mathis. He wrote:



My apologies for not contacting you sooner. Due to some unanticipated events with the firm Jill has decided to take other employment. I will now be investigating the claim involving your mother directly.

My understanding is that we are now in a position to get the nursing home records we need. I will do so and review them carefully.

Sent from my iPhone

Kelly B. Mathis