Cooper University Health sues Trinity division for $15M over failed hospital deal

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Camden, N.J.-based Cooper University Health Care filed a lawsuit Monday against Maxis Health System, a division of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, to recover $15 million held in escrow after Cooper backed out of a deal to acquire Trinity's New Jersey hospitals, according to The Inquirer.

Here are six things to know about the lawsuit.

1. Cooper signed a letter of intent in August to acquire Lourdes Health System, a two-hospital system based in Camden, and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, N.J., from Maxis Health System, the Trinity Health division that owns the New Jersey hospitals.

2. After undertaking a due diligence period, Cooper abandoned the proposed transaction Dec. 15. Cooper University Health Care President and CEO Adrienne Kirby, PhD, said in a statement, "Our team has invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars in reviewing the proposed transaction. Based upon this review, unfortunately, we will not be able to consummate the contemplated transaction. We are all disappointed, but did not make this decision lightly."

3. In a letter attached as an exhibit to its complaint, Cooper alleges Lourdes Health System Interim President Reginald Blaber, MD, "spoke with the bishop of Camden, disparaging Cooper and asking the bishop to intervene to prevent the transaction from proceeding," according to The Inquirer.

4. A spokeswoman for Lourdes Health System told The Inquirer Cooper's claims are meritless. "The allegations about Dr. Blaber's conversation with the bishop are not true. We will present the facts in court," she said. Although Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan was briefed on the proposed deal, he never intervened in any part of the transaction on behalf of any party, according to a spokesman for the Diocese of Camden.

5. Due to the issues raised in its lawsuit, Cooper is seeking to recoup the $15 million placed in escrow for the transaction.

6. "We do not agree that the basis for the Cooper termination of the transaction are well founded" or meet the thresholds required under the letter of intent, a lawyer for Trinity said in an emailed statement to The Inquirer.

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