April 14, 2023 – United States District Court Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr., has dismissed with prejudice an antitrust lawsuit brought against Kenny Nachwalter client Health First. The dismissal comes after the Court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification on the basis that both of the named plaintiffs and putative class representatives lacked standing.
Health First is a fully integrated delivery network and health provider in Brevard County, Florida. Health First is a not for profit company that operates four hospitals, a health insurance plan, and a multi-specialty physician group. Health First also operates Brevard County’s only Level II trauma center.
Plaintiffs in this case, Anthony Colucci and Vanessa Lorraine Skipper, alleged that Health First engaged in anticompetitive conduct in the market for inpatient and emergency room acute care hospital services in Brevard County or Southern Brevard County. Following fact and expert discovery, the plaintiffs moved to certify a class of patients and health plans who purchased such services. Health First opposed the motion, arguing, among other things, that neither plaintiff had received or paid for inpatient or emergency room acute care services at a Health First hospital and therefore were not members of the class they purported to represent. The Court agreed, stating “Because neither Plaintiff seeks to recover for inpatient or emergency care treatment, and their claims fall outside the class’s claims, they lack standing to bring these claims on behalf of the class.”
Plaintiffs sought leave to amend their complaint to expand the product market to include non-emergency outpatient acute care services and to add a new named plaintiff. The Court found that plaintiffs had not shown good cause for amending their complaint ten months after the deadline to amend pleadings and therefore denied plaintiffs’ motion. As the Court stated, “Plaintiffs delayed seeking amendment despite being put on notice of standing issues long before the Court’s order denying class certification.”
Following the Court’s denial of class certification and plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal. On March 28, 2023, the Court entered an order dismissing the case with prejudice. The Court reserved jurisdiction to rule on Health First’s motion for Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiffs and their counsel. The Rule 11 motion is currently pending.
“Health First is committed to improving the wellness and health of those we serve. Kenny Nachwalter helped us to end costly litigation and allow Health First to remain focused on healing members of our community,” said Health First Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Nicholas Romanello.
The case is Anthony Colucci and Vanessa Lorraine Skipper v. Health First, Inc., No. 6:21-CV-00681-RBD (M.D. Fla.). The Kenny Nachwalter team of attorneys include Richard Alan Arnold, Deborah S. Corbishley, Elizabeth B. Honkonen, Christina Ceballos-Levy, Joshua B. Gray, and Agustina Kloosterboer.
About Kenny Nachwalter, P.A.
Kenny Nachwalter is a leading law firm in complex business and antitrust litigation. Serving clients in Florida and nationwide since 1978, the firm has earned a national reputation for excellence in complex business litigation, including antitrust, securities, and legal malpractice & professional liability.