Federal court dismisses false claims, antitrust lawsuits against Health First

A federal judge in Florida has dismissed two lawsuits filed against Health First, an integrated health system based in Rockledge, Fla. 

On April 21, Judge Roy Dalton Jr. dismissed a class-action antitrust lawsuit that was filed against Health First two days earlier. The complaint accused Health First of monopolizing Florida's acute care market in violation of state and federal antitrust laws. The judge dismissed the case as an impermissible shotgun pleading in which each count adopts the allegations of all preceding counts.

"Such pleadings impose on the court the onerous task of sifting out irrelevancies to determine which facts are relevant to which causes of action," the judge wrote in the April 21 order. "If  plaintiffs choose to replead, the amended complaint must clearly delineate which factual allegations are relevant to each claim." 

On April 22, Mr. Dalton dismissed a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a Florida-based physician group against Health First. The judge dismissed the case after finding that the physician group violated a written stipulation to not file a third amended complaint in the case. 

Health First said it appreciates the judge's dismissal of the "unfounded and frivolous lawsuits." 

"These lawsuits divert millions of dollars to defend which should be used for our community," Health First Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Nicholas Romanello said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review. "Health First remains focused on our mission of improving the wellness and health of Brevard families."

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