Firm News

Farella Braun + Martel Files Lawsuit to Hold Down Healthcare Costs

April 8, 2014 Press Release

Complaint alleges that Sutter engages in anticompetitive practices that result in overcharges of nearly 40% to employers for the same services offered by competing hospitals.   

San Francisco (April 8, 2014):  Farella Braun + Martel LLP today joined several other law firms in filing a class action complaint against Sacramento-based Sutter Health, alleging that Sutter engages in anticompetitive conduct in violation of the California Cartwright Act and the state Unfair Competition Law.  

“This is an important case for everyone concerned with the high cost of healthcare.  Sutter’s illegal actions have caused healthcare costs in San Francisco and throughout Northern California to be approximately 38% higher than the cost for the same medical services in Southern California, where Sutter has no hospitals,” said Farella lead attorney John L. Cooper.   

The case, UFCW & Employers Benefits Trust v. Sutter Health, et al., Case No. 14-538451, (Link to Complaint) was filed on behalf of a class of “Self-Funded Payors,” also known as self-insured entities, which provide healthcare benefits to their employees.  These employers are typically larger businesses that paid Sutter’s higher prices when their employees used the services of any of Sutter’s 27 general acute care hospitals in Northern California.   

According to the complaint, Sutter has violated the law by prohibiting employers from knowing in advance the cost of particular procedures and from offering their employees incentives to choose Sutter’s lower-priced competitors..  Sutter’s practices maintain inflated prices insulated from competition by other hospitals.  Sutter also forces healthcare insurance providers to include all Sutter hospitals in their provider networks regardless of employer and patient preferences for only certain Sutter hospitals.  Together, these contracting practices unlawfully restrain competition and constitute price tampering in violation of California’s antitrust and unfair competition laws.  

The lawyers at Farella representing the plaintiffs include John L. Cooper, Roderick M. Thompson, Christopher C. Wheeler, Alex Reese, and Janice W. Reicher.  Richard L. Grossman of Pillsbury & Coleman is the lead attorney for the class, which is also represented by attorneys at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Davis Cowell & Bowe. 

Farella Braun + Martel represents clients throughout the United States and abroad in sophisticated business transactions and complex commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Farella lawyers are known for their imaginative legal solutions, dynamism and intellectual creativity. With an unwavering service ethic and interdisciplinary team approach, the firm is committed to advancing clients' objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner. Founded in 1962, Farella is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry. 

Melinda Hepp / Traci Stuart   
Blattel Communications    
[email protected] / [email protected]

Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel
[email protected]


Firm Highlights


3 Trends in Criminal Trade Secret Prosecution

Criminal trade secret prosecutions are on the rise nationwide and in the Northern District of California, especially cases relating to alleged theft by Chinese nationals and entities. According to a 2017 report by the...

Read More

Carly Alameda and Eugene Mar Named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hotlist 2019

Farella Braun + Martel partners  Carly O. Alameda and Eugene Y. Mar have been named to Benchmark Litigation ’s “ 40 & Under Hotlist” for 2019. The list honors partners 40 or younger who...

Read More

A Major Victory for hiQ Labs, Ninth Circuit Upholds Its Right to Access Publicly Available LinkedIn Data

In a blockbuster ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed startup hiQ Labs, Inc.’s preliminary injunction (PI) against LinkedIn granted by Judge Edward Chen of the United States District Court for the Northern...

Read More

Farella Adds Technology Industry Group Depth

Read More

40 Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Named to 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

SAN FRANCISCO, July 8, 2019: Forty Farella Braun + Martel attorneys across practice areas were named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists of top attorneys in Northern California for 2019. Farella attorneys...

Read More

Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020

Read More

Ninth Circuit Upholds Data Miner's Injunction Against LinkedIn

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with data analytics company hiQ Labs, Inc. and upheld an injunction barring LinkedIn from blocking it from accessing information made publicly available by the professional networking site’s users...

Read More