Former CEO of Lutheran Health Network seeks dismissal of CHS' lawsuit

Brian Bauer, former CEO of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lutheran Health Network, has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses him of breach of contract and defamation, according to The Journal Gazette.

In the lawsuit, LHN and its parent company, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, allege Mr. Bauer breached his contract with the health network by sharing confidential information with the system's competitors. Mr. Bauer was removed from his position at LHN in June 2017 after CHS rejected a buyout offer from a group of LHN physicians, but the lawsuit alleges he spread confidential and proprietary information about CHS' affiliates even after he was fired. The lawsuit claims Mr. Bauer created a Facebook account in August under the pseudonym Sajin Young to share updates and opinions about CHS and LHN.

The lawsuit alleges Mr. Bauer, who was contracted by Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health to help develop a physician practice in Fort Wayne, defamed LHN and engaged in a scheme to disrupt the health network's business, interfere with patient and physician relations, and "[sowed] the seeds of unfounded fear with staff."

In his motion to dismiss, Mr. Bauer argues the complaint provides no specific instances of when he defamed CHS and provides no evidence the company lost revenue because of his alleged interference with business relationships, according to the report.

If the court does not dismiss the lawsuit, Mr. Bauer argues the case should proceed in Indiana, where the alleged incidents occurred, instead of in Tennessee. A hearing on his motion is slated for Jan. 25.

CHS spokeswoman Tomi Galin told The Journal Gazette, "We believe Mr. Bauer's actions harmed Lutheran Health Network, and we look forward to a full airing of the facts as this litigation proceeds." She also noted that Mr. Bauer's motion to dismiss was filed prior to CHS' amended complaint, which accuses him of engaging in a scheme to drive down LHN's value to force a sale of the system.

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