UEBT v. Sutter Health: Implications for Healthcare Antitrust Class Actions

April 5, 2022
American Bar Association

On April 7, 2014, the United Food and Commercial Workers & Employers Benefit Trust (UEBT), on behalf of a class of California Self-Funded Payers, filed a class action lawsuit against Sutter Health in California state court in San Francisco. Employers and labor unions accused the Northern California health system of abusing its market power and charging inflated prices, in violation of California's antitrust law. Plaintiffs alleged that Sutter Health demanded and achieved three anticompetitive restraints in its contractual relationships with health plans. The three restraints were: (1) "all-or-nothing" system-wide contracting; (2) anti-steering/anti-tiering requirements; and (3) pricing and quality non-disclosure agreements.

The court granted UEBT's motion for class certification in August 2017.

On March 29, 2018, the California Attorney General filed a similar antitrust suit against Sutter Health, alleging similar accusations of anticompetitive behavior and overcharging consumers and employers. The California Superior Court consolidated the two cases.

In December 2019, the parties reached an agreement to resolve the lawsuit. The court granted final approval for a $575 million settlement in August, 2019, as well as the adoption several reforms aimed at curbing anti-competitive practices.

After delays due to COVID, they are now working with claimants to allocate the settlement.

This webinar is an opportunity to hear from the key lawyers who successfully challenged Sutter Health's contracting practices in this mammoth case:

  • Richard L. Grossman, Pillsbury & Coleman LLP
  • Daniel A. Small, Partner, Cohen Milstein
  • Christopher C. Wheeler, Partner, Farella, Braun, + Martel

Dr. Leslie E. Schafer, Managing Director of Econ One Research, Inc. who worked with Dr. Jeffery Leitzinger on class certification and damages for the case, will moderate this panel discussion about case strategy and other aspects that were critical to their success for a case lasting more than five years. The discussion will cover topics such as arbitration agreements, liability theory, managing across multiple law firms, and how to calculate damages in a complex, extremely data-intensive case.