Plaintiff Class Appeals Antitrust Decision in Sutter Health Case
Case to be appealed to Ninth Circuit; jury made decision based on incorrect legal instructions and incomplete evidence
Today, the Plaintiffs in an antitrust case entitled Sidibe et al. v. Sutter Health are announcing their decision to appeal the Final Judgment entered in that case. The suit alleged that defendant Sutter Health, a dominant hospital system in numerous Northern California markets, caused approximately $411 million in damages to the members of the Class that the Plaintiffs have been authorized to represent–over three million employers and individuals located in Northern California that paid premiums for health insurance.
The Plaintiffs claimed that Sutter caused these damages by imposing artificially-inflated hospital prices and contractual practices upon the health plans that covered the medical expenses for the Class Members. Those inflated hospital prices were then passed through in the form of health insurance premiums that the Class Members paid that were higher than they otherwise would have been. The Plaintiffs also claimed that Sutter’s conduct hindered health plans from offering effective lower-cost insurance products in Northern California – products that flourished in Southern California and would have flourished in Northern California if not for Sutter’s acts.
On March 11, 2022, a jury rendered a verdict in favor of Sutter Health. The appeal will explain that this verdict was the product of substantial legal errors. Among other things, it will highlight that the Court failed to instruct the jury in accordance with established law on the appropriate standards governing the jury’s assessment of Sutter’s restraints and antitrust market definition. It will also highlight that the Court made erroneous and substantially prejudicial evidentiary rulings that barred the Class from presenting critical evidence to the jury, including numerous Sutter admissions. Such evidence shows that Sutter’s adoption of its restraints was motivated by an anticompetitive purpose, how those restraints allowed for Sutter to increase its hospital prices, and how Sutter knew that health plans would be unable to withstand its contractual forcing.
Matthew L. Cantor, Partner at Lead Counsel Constantine Cannon LLP who represents the Plaintiffs and the Class, noted that these legal errors likely influenced the outcome of the trial. He added, “We look forward to appealing these erroneous rulings to the Ninth Circuit. Our mission is to achieve justice for the three million Class Members that we represent, all of whom unwittingly paid higher premiums as a result of Sutter’s market dominance and anticompetitive tactics.”
Briefs related to this appeal will be filed with the Ninth Circuit later this year.
About Constantine Cannon LLP
With offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and London, Constantine Cannon LLP is one of the largest whistleblower practices in the United States. The firm’s team of dedicated whistleblower lawyers represent whistleblowers under federal and state False Claims Acts as well as the whistleblower programs of the IRS, SEC, CFTC, DOT, and others.
Constantine Cannon also has deep expertise in practice areas that include antitrust and complex commercial litigation, government relations, securities, and e-discovery. The firm’s antitrust practice is among the largest and most well recognized in the nation. Constantine Cannon’s experience spans multiple industries, including healthcare, banking, electronic payments, insurance, high tech, telecommunications, the Internet, and government contracting.