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Analysis

Optum Lets Up on Exec Who Left for Job With Amazon-Backed Haven

By Steven Porter  
   September 17, 2019

Despite earlier claims that its former vice president would be taking trade secrets to a competitor, Optum agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.

UnitedHealth Group's Optum Inc. has agreed to the dismissal of a lawsuit the company filed against one of its former executives who took a job with Haven, the healthcare venture backed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase.

David Smith was an Optum vice president when he accepted an offer late last year to become director of product strategy and research for Haven, setting off a proxy skirmish between the interests of an established healthcare powerhouse and those of an aspiring disruptor.

Optum sued Smith in January, accusing him of taking nonpublic information to a competitor. A federal judge allowed Smith to continue working for Haven and sent the trade secrets dispute into closed-door arbitration. That kept the matter largely out of the public eye for more than six months, until Friday, when the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal with the court.

The brief filing, signed by attorneys for Optum, Haven, and Smith, states simply that the parties agree to dismiss all claims and counterclaims in the case, with each side paying its own fees. It doesn't mention arbitration or any possible settlement.

Spokespeople and attorneys for the parties to the lawsuit did not respond to HealthLeaders' calls and emails Monday seeking comment.

Smith's profile on LinkedIn indicates that he is still employed by Haven.

Related: Amazon-Backed Healthcare Venture Gets Much-Needed Name

Related: Judge Allows Ex-Optum Exec to Work for Amazon Healthcare Venture

Related: Haven COO Jack Stoddard Reportedly Departs for Personal Reasons

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Optum Health logo on the website homepage. (Casimiro PT / Shutterstock.com)


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Attorneys for the executive and both companies signed off on a court filing to dismiss all claims and counterclaims.

The development comes after about six months of relative quiet, after a judge sent the matter into arbitration.


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