Federal Court Rules in Favor of Providers on Motion to Remand
A federal judge has granted a key motion filed by TeamHealth providers in their New Jersey RICO case against United and MultiPlan, finding that the case can go forward in state court. The case, which alleges United has underpaid the providers by more than $100 million, was originally filed in New Jersey state court in November 2020. Defendants removed the case to federal court. Federal District Judge Renee Marie Bumb (D.N.J. No. 20-20083 (RMB/AMD) has now granted the providers’ motion to remand, finding no federal jurisdiction.
As in Nevada, TeamHealth asserts in its New Jersey lawsuit that United unlawfully conspired with MultiPlan, falsely representing to healthcare providers and patients that United’s use of MultiPlan’s software product results in a “fair price.” The providers allege the MultiPlan process is unfair and “does not use the information it purports to use.” In deciding providers’ remand motion sending the matter back to New Jersey state court, Judge Bumb ruled federal question and diversity jurisdiction were lacking. Judge Bumb also ordered: “Within ten days of this order, [TeamHealth] shall advise whether they wish to pursue their motion for attorney’s fees.”
The providers advised the Court, yes, citing “defendants’ fast and loose tactics” in a recent filing. The providers added, “United’s removal here reflects a pattern of conduct that courts have identified and rejected.”
“United’s approach wastes judicial resources and delays resolution on the merits,” said Carol Owen, TeamHealth’s Chief Counsel of Revenue Payment Integrity. “United has tried this tactic and failed in Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona courts. This tactic, used in at least seven pending cases, has caused a collective five years of delays to TeamHealth’s efforts to recover more than $100 million owed by United. We are grateful that courts have begun to see this strategy for what it is.”
The New Jersey matter coincides with a trial now underway in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which TeamHealth provider groups allege United has paid an improperly low rate for more than 11,000 claims. Similar lawsuits are pending in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas. TeamHealth is seeking punitive damages against United and MultiPlan in both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania cases. At stake is the very ability of heroic frontline healthcare providers to get necessary reimbursements from large profitable insurers to cover the cost of the lifesaving care they provide.
For more details, see ProtectingOurHealthcareHeroes.com. To watch ongoing Nevada state court trial proceedings against other United entities, tune in to the livestream (Meeting ID: 541 907 772) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
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