Shook Wins $58 Million Verdict for Health Care Group

A Tennessee jury has awarded $58 million to Shook client Highlands Physicians, Inc., following a three-week trial against the group’s longtime business partner, Wellmont Health System. Highlands Physicians is a trade association of about 1,500 health care providers practicing mainly in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Partner Gary Elden, with Partner Amy Cho and Associates Matt Wolfe and Peter O’Neill, led the Shook team. 

Highlands Physicians argued that Wellmont’s actions depressed reimbursement rates for health care providers throughout the area, damaging all of them in essentially the same way. In 2016, Shook filed a class action on behalf of HPI and its past and present members, seeking damages for all of them. The class was certified in 2017, and the certification was affirmed by the Tennessee Supreme Court earlier this year.

At trial, Highlands Physicians argued that Wellmont had misrepresented and concealed important information about contracts held by a joint venture between Highlands Physicians and Wellmont, among other allegations. After deliberating for just three hours, the jury returned its verdict for HPI and the class.

The case is Highlands Physicians, Inc. v. Wellmont Health Sys., No. C41368(C) (Law Ct., Sullivan Cty., December 18, 2018). Modern Healthcare reported on the judgment.