Tennessee judge allows CHS' lawsuit against ex-Lutheran CEO to move forward

A federal judge ruled Friday Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems' lawsuit against the former CEO of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lutheran Health Network can proceed.

Tomi Galin, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing for CHS, told Becker's Hospital Review via email Friday the judge ruled the Williamson County Circuit Court has jurisdiction to hear the health system's claims against former Lutheran Health Network CEO Brian Bauer and declined to dismiss the allegations against him.

Mr. Bauer filed a motion earlier this month to dismiss CHS' lawsuit against him, arguing the lawsuit constituted "an attempt to sabotage that business relationship [between Mr. Bauer and IU Health] and … to prevent Mr. Bauer from working with those who seek to improve access to quality health care in Fort Wayne and northern Indiana."

While Ms. Galin said the court ruled to dismiss two counts against Mr. Bauer on "technical grounds," several of the health system's original allegations were upheld.

Among those allegations are the claim Mr. Bauer "breached a contract prohibiting him from directly or indirectly soliciting for employment employees of [CHS] and its affiliates, including employees of Lutheran Health Network," as well as claims he "damaged the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiffs through unfair and deceptive practices" and "interfered with actual and prospective business relationships."

"This is an important milestone decision in the litigation against Brian Bauer because it means the case will move forward and there can be a full airing of the facts and the evidence that Bauer and others engaged in a scheme to harm Lutheran Health Network," Ms. Galin said in a statement to Becker's.

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