Sidibe v. Sutter HealthDate Filed: September 17, 2012
District Court: Northern District of California – Case No. 3:12-CV-04854
Appellate Court: Ninth Circuit Case No. 14-16234; Case No. 22-15634
Nature of Suit: Antitrust
Defendant Type: Provider
Plaintiff Type: Private
The class action case was filed in federal district court in San Francisco in September 2012 and alleges that Sutter Health restricted competition in the health care market. The district court dismissed the 3rd amended complaint in June 2014. However, on July 15, 2016, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the plaintiffs/appellants in their Ninth Circuit appeal of the dismissal of the putative class action. The Ninth Circuit heard arguments on July 8, 2016 and issued an unpublished opinion a week later. A Fourth Amended Complaint was filed and granted September 2017, changing the class definition in two ways: adding two representative employer-plaintiffs that pay premiums for their employees and adding subscribers of two additional commercial health plans. Class certification in the case was granted in July 2020 and the court denied summary judgment for Sutter in March 2021, setting the stage for a trial on the merits. (See The Source case brief for details).
A jury trial before Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler took place in February 2022. After nearly ten years of litigation and a month-long trial, a nine-person jury delivered a unanimous verdict finding that Sutter Health did not engage in anticompetitive conduct and did not cause consumers to pay higher prices or premiums as alleged by the class plaintiffs. The jury answered no on two key questions to plaintiffs’ case, that 1) Sutter Health did not use tying practices in its insurer contracts; and 2) Sutter did not force insurers into contracts that would prevent health plans from steering patients to lower cost hospitals.
The case has been appealed to the 9th Circuit due to alleged errors in the lower court’s jury instructions and pre-trial rulings regarding exclusion of evidence. Oral arguments took place in August 2023.