Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture can keep employing former Optum exec, judge rules

A federal judge will not block the new healthcare company formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase from hiring a former OptumRx employee, according to Reuters.

Optum, the pharmacy benefits unit of UnitedHealth Group, filed a lawsuit Jan. 16 against the venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan. Optum was seeking a court order to block former Optum exec David Smith from working at the venture, saying he could divulge information that would give it a competitive advantage.  Optum argued that Mr. Smith can't work for the new venture without violating noncompete and nondisclosure agreements.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf declined to issue a temporary restraining order preventing Mr. Smith from woking at the venture pending the outcome of an arbitration hearing. Mr. Wolf said Optum didn't establish a solid argument that Mr. Smith was violating the noncompete.

In his opinion, Mr. Wolf wrote that the un-named venture does not offer products that compete with Optum.

A testimony made public this week also found that the new venture may actually become an Optum customer rather than a rival.

Optum plans to "aggressively" pursue its claims that Mr. Smith is in violation of his noncompete and nondisclosure agreements in arbitration.

The Amazon-Berkshire-JP Morgan venture declined Reuter's request for comment.

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