Attorneys seek to revive $411M antitrust suit against Sutter

Attorneys representing employers and health plan enrollees in a long-running antitrust suit against Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health filed a notice of appeal April 26. 

The $411 million class-action case, Sidibe v. Sutter Health, centered on Sutter Health's "all-or-nothing" contracts with five major health insurers — Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Aetna, Health Net and UnitedHealthcare. Plaintiffs alleged that Sutter Health used its market power to negotiate restrictive contracts with the major insurers and overcharge millions of premium-paying patients. The lawsuit had a certified class of around 3 million members who purchased health policies from the insurers since 2011. 

A jury sided with Sutter Health in March after eight hours of deliberations over a two-day span. 

Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the case are seeking to revive the case by appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Matthew Cantor, a lead attorney representing the plaintiffs, told the Sacramento Business Journal that attorneys believe the trial outcome would have been different if the judge gave the jury accurate instructions and if his team were able to present key evidence to the jury. 

"The erroneous instructions were vague and didn’t give the jury the kind of guidance that it needed in this case to make correct factual determinations," Mr. Cantor told the Business Journal.

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