Compass Lexecon Client Sutter Health Prevails in $1.2 Billion Antitrust Jury Trial

On March 11, 2022, a jury in California delivered a unanimous verdict in favor of Compass Lexecon’s client Sutter Health in Sidibe et. al, v. Sutter Health, a Federal class action antitrust case heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. More than 40 witnesses testified before the jury in a trial that lasted longer than a month.

Plaintiffs and their economic expert argued that Sutter’s negotiation with health plans included anticompetitive tying and contracting practices that raised prices and harmed a class of employers and individuals in California. Plaintiffs sought $1.2 billion in damages, after trebling.

Compass Lexecon experts provided extensive expert testimony in all phases of the case. Compass Lexecon Senior Consultant Robert Willig filed multiple written reports in both the class certification and merits phases of the case.

Compass Lexecon Senior Managing Director Jon Orszag testified before the jury showing that the alleged conduct was entirely consistent with well-accepted models of competition in the healthcare industry and demonstrated critical flaws in the theoretical and empirical analyses offered by the Plaintiffs’ expert economist.

Columbia University Professor Gautam Gowrisankaran also testified on behalf of the defendants about the Plaintiffs’ expert’s claims relating to market definition and market power.

Prior to the jury verdict, Judge Laurel Beeler noted that it was “so important what the experts say” and commented that, “[i]t all comes down to the experts.” After seven hours of deliberation, the jury rejected all of Plaintiff’s claims, finding that Sutter did not engage in anticompetitive tying practices and that their contracting practices were not anticompetitive and did not harm consumers.

Compass Lexecon was retained by David Kiernan and Jeff LeVee of Jones Day who successfully represented Sutter. Professor Willig and Mr. Orszag were supported by a Compass Lexecon team that included Nauman Ilias, Bryan Keating, Dan O’Brien, Cathy Barron, Jeff Raileanu, Mike Matelis, John Campbell, Bo Bourke, Zack Campbell, Grace Nie, Zoya Azhar, and Rudra Ramchandran.