Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Health Care Law
Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc.
Appellant requested her medical records from a medical clinic. Pursuant to its contract with Appellant's medical care provider, Healthport, Inc., a private company that fulfills such requests for medical records, obtained and sold Appellant the copies of her requested medical records. Healthport collected sales tax on charges for services rendered in retrieving and copying the medical records. Appellant subsequently filed a class-action complaint against Healthport for violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA), unjust enrichment, and a declaratory judgment that Healthport illegally collected the sales tax. Healthport impleaded the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A) by filing a counterclaim and a third-party complaint seeking declaratory judgment on whether the State's tax statutes require the collection of sales tax on labor and copy charges associated with the production of medical records. The circuit court granted Healthport's and DF&A's motions for summary judgment, finding that sales tax applied to the sale of copies of medical records and that this conclusion rendered Appellant's additional claims moot. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal without prejudice for lack of a proper Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(b) certificate, as the circuit court's Rule 54(b) certificate failed to comply with Rule 54(b).View "Holbrook v. Healthport, Inc." on Justia Law
Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc.
In this putative class action, Plaintiffs were doctors of chiropractic who alleged they had been victimized by the discriminatory practices of Iowa's largest health insurer, Wellmark, Inc. The district court (1) granted Wellmark's motion to dismiss claims brought under Iowa's insurance regulatory statutes because no private cause of action was provided therein; (2) granted Wellmark's motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' antitrust claims based on the "state action" exemption found in Iowa Code 553.6(4); (3) granted summary judgment on claims alleging Wellmark breached its obligations under a judicially approved national class action settlement in Love v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Ass'n; and (4) granted summary judgment on several specific antitrust claims. The Supreme Court (1) reversed in part, holding that the district court erred in granting summary judgment on Plaintiffs' antitrust claims based on the state action exemption, as the record failed to establish the challenged conduct fell within the exemption; and (2) otherwise affirmed. Remanded.View "Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc." on Justia Law
State v. MaineHealth
The State filed an antitrust enforcement action against four MaineHealth entities based on the proposed acquisition by MaineHealth of two major cardiology practices. The matter was transferred to the business and consumer docket. Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) moved to intervene in the proceeding, arguing that it had an interest in the case as a principal competitor in cardiovascular surgery of one of MaineHealth's hospitals. The lower court denied CMMC's motion. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of CMMC's motion, holding (1) because CMMC made no evidentiary showing of bad faith, collusion, or other malfeasance on the part of the government, and did not demonstrate that the disposition of the antitrust action would impair its ability to protect its interests through independent litigation, intervention of right was properly denied; and (2) the lower court did not err in denying permissive intervention after determining that joining the private cause of action to the State's enforcement claim would unduly burden the proceedings and supplying an alternative method for CMMC to participate in the action by providing oral comments and written submissions to the court.View "State v. MaineHealth" on Justia Law
Conn. Podiatric Med. Ass’n v. Health Net of Conn., Inc.
Defendant in this case issued health care insurance policies to provide coverage for medical services and entered into contracts with practitioners of the healing arts to provide those services. Plaintiffs, three individual podiatrists and the Connecticut Podiatric Medical Association, brought an action against Defendant, alleging that Defendant's practice of reimbursing individual podiatrists at a lower rate than medical doctors for the same service constituted unfair discrimination in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA) and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that CUIPA, by prohibiting unfair discrimination, bars the denial of reimbursement on the basis of the particular license held by a practitioner of the healing arts, but does not preclude setting different reimbursement rates on the basis of the particular license held by a practitioner of the healing arts. View "Conn. Podiatric Med. Ass'n v. Health Net of Conn., Inc. " on Justia Law
Parks v. Alpharma
While employed with Alpharma, a pharmaceutical company, Debra Parks was involved in marketing a prescription drug known as Kadian. Parks filed a complaint in circuit court for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, claiming that Alpharma was involved in illegal marketing activities and that after Parks had raised her concerns with various people at Alpharma, Alpharma retaliated against her by terminating her employment. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. While Parks' appeal was pending in the intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals granted certiorari on its own initiative. The Court affirmed the ruling of the circuit court on the basis that Parks failed to identify any clear mandate of public policy allegedly violated by Alpharma and allegedly reported by her that would constitute some of the required elements of a wrongful discharge claim.View "Parks v. Alpharma" on Justia Law