Judge dismisses 3 counts in CHS' lawsuit against ex-Lutheran CEO

A Tennessee judge on Feb. 14 dismissed three of the six counts brought forth in Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems' lawsuit against the former chief executive of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lutheran Health Network, according to The Journal Gazette.

Here are seven things to know about the case.

1. CHS and Lutheran Health Network filed a lawsuit against former Lutheran CEO Brian Bauer last November, alleging Mr. Bauer "damaged the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiffs through unfair and deceptive practices" and "interfered with actual and prospective business relationships," among other allegations.

2. However, during court proceedings Wednesday, Judge Joseph A. Woodruff of the Circuit Court of Williamson County threw out three of the six counts outlined in CHS' lawsuit. The dismissed counts included trade and commercial disparagement, unfair and deceptive business practices, and breach of duty of loyalty, according to the report.

3. Mr. Bauer filed a motion last month to dismiss the case, claiming the case should be decided in Indiana because the allegations outlined in CHS' lawsuit took place in Fort Wayne. The judge's 21-page ruling noted the Tennessee court is the appropriate venue to hear the case.

4. Mr. Bauer's motion also contended the case should be dismissed because he claims the allegations can't be proven because they aren't true, the report states. Mr. Woodruff, however, said Mr. Bauer is required to assume the counts can be proven.

5. Tomi Galin, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing for CHS, told The Journal Gazette via email Feb. 15, "The judge declined to dismiss the counts related to breach of contract, defamation, and tortious interference with business relationships. This is an important decision in the litigation against Brian Bauer because it means the case will move forward and there can be a full airing of facts and evidence that Bauer and others engaged in a scheme to harm Lutheran Health Network."

6. Mr. Bauer and his attorneys declined to comment to The Journal Gazette, but reportedly indicated they viewed the ruling positively.

7. The next hearing on the case is scheduled for Feb. 23. It is unclear if Mr. Woodruff will preside over the Feb. 23 hearing.

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