Judge Suspends Antitrust Case Between West Penn, UPMC

A federal judge has paused the antitrust case between Pittsburgh-based UPMC and West Penn Allegheny Health System after the latter accused the judge of displaying bias, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

West Penn filed a motion last week in which the health system's attorneys said U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab has "made a worrisome practice of misstating and mischaracterizing" their positions in the case. The attorneys also said their client "respectfully urges the Court to correct its misstatements to avoid any possible appearance of bias," according to the report.

Judge Schwab denied West Penn's request that he reconsider an order that allows UPMC to seek information. Instead, Judge Schwab told West Penn it could appeal that decision. Until that appeal is filed and decided, he is pausing the case.

The judge wrote that "the Court believes that its three most recent opinions/orders ... were well-researched, fair, and consistent with applicable law, and do not demonstrate 'any possible appearance of bias,'" according to the report.

The issue stems from an antitrust suit West Penn filed in 2009 against UPMC and Highmark. After Highmark offered to acquire West Penn, it was dropped from the suit. West Penn has since asked Judge Schwab to focus the lawsuit entirely on UPMC, but he has not yet ruled on that request.

Related Articles on UPMC and West Penn Allegheny Health System:

Highmark, West Penn to Reopen Emergency Department in Pittsburgh Today
West Penn Allegheny Expects Approval on Highmark Affiliation by Fall
West Penn Allegheny: UPMC's Requests for Documents Are "Designed to Harass"

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