NJ Supreme Court Sides with Tier 2 Hospitals on Discovery of OMNIA Documents

    By: Melinda Martinson, Esq. on Jul 28, 2017

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed with two separate trial courts that:

    discovery geared toward unmasking Horizon's methodology and particular determinations during the [tier] selection process, as well as other information illuminative of Horizon's acts and intentions, was relevant to plaintiffs' contractual and implied-contractual claims, and that any legitimate claim asserted by Horizon, RWJ, or McKinsey that the material was proprietary would be adequately protected by the confidentiality order.  [Capital Health Systems v. Horizon, slip op. at p. 13].

    The high court's opinion comes after months of wrangling over what is discoverable in the litigation filed by Tier 2 hospitals against Horizon. The Tier 2 hospitals allege that OMNIA's tiering process was predetermined or wrongful to guarantee that certain large hospitals and systems were placed in the preferential Tier 1.

    The trial courts entered confidentiality orders, agreed to by the parties, which prohibited the use of Horizon's confidential business information for business or competitive purposes and limited disclosure to the parties, their counsel and outside experts. Despite the confidentiality orders, Horizon continued to challenge production of the McKinsey report which "identified and prioritized potential Alliance partners" and other documents. In essence, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that the appellate division erred by judging the relevance of the material sought by its "own disapproving view of the merits and by giving no apparent weight or consideration to the protections afforded by the confidentiality order." Id. at 11. The high court went on to state that it had never allowed a party's right to relevant discovery to be controlled by a lower court's impression of the merits of a case when a confidentiality order provides adequate protection. 

    Only three hospitals continue their lawsuit against Horizon's OMNIA program. They are CentraState, Holy Name and The Valley Hospital. Read the NJ Supreme Court opinion for details.


    Released: July 28, 2017, 6:10 am
    Keywords: Announcements

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