Blue Shield of California sues ex-executive who led public attack against it

Blue Shield of California has filed a breach of contract complaint against its former public policy director in Los Angeles County Superior Court and accused him of disclosing confidential company information, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The health giant's former public policy director, Michael Johnson, worked at Blue Shield for 12 years. He resigned from the company in March and launched a public campaign against Blue Shield, criticizing the nonprofit insurer for operating too much like a for-profit company. Mr. Johnson started an online petition, which calls on Blue Shield to provide at least $500 million a year in community benefits or return billions of dollars to the public. The petition has attracted more than 13,000 supporters.

In its lawsuit, Blue Shield claims a forensic analysis of Mr. Johnson's company-issued laptop revealed he accessed confidential documents shortly before he resigned.

"We sued Mr. Johnson because he violated his legal duties to Blue Shield by taking and disclosing the company's confidential information," a Blue Shield spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.

In its lawsuit, Blue Shield requests Mr. Johnson return any confidential information he took and to also stop disclosing any protected information.

Mr. Johnson said the litigation is meritless. "I won't back down. I'm going to keep speaking out, louder than ever, about Blue Shield's misconduct as a nonprofit," he told the Los Angeles Times.

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