Former Lutheran CEO Brian Bauer claims big victory for Fort Wayne healthcare

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  After two days of testimony, a judge issued a ruling Monday afternoon concerning the on-going lawsuit brought by CHS against its former CEO Brian Bauer. Bauer had sought to have the case dismissed. CHS hoped to prevent Bauer from disclosing company secrets to health organizations seeking to enter the Fort Wayne healthcare market.

“Their main goal was to keep me from working for IU Health,” Brian Bauer told NewsChannel 15’s Brett Thomas. “And that didn’t happen.” Bauer said he was thrilled by the decision. “This is a big day for healthcare in Fort Wayne,” he said.

At first read the decision appears to support Community Health System’s position.

Judge Joseph A. Woodruff, 21st District Williamson County Tennessee, wrote “the court finds LHN has carried its burden to prove a likelihood of success on the merits [of the case].” The judge further ruled that former Lutheran CEO Brian Bauer improperly disclosed Lutheran Health Network’s confidential information and issued an order to prevent him from continuing to use that information.

As summarized in a CHS news release, the temporary injunction issued Monday afternoon prohibits Bauer from:

* using and disclosing, directly or indirectly, Lutheran Health Network’s confidential or proprietary information;

* entering into any commercial transaction for the purpose of developing a healthcare network competing with LHN with any person who has received LHN’s protected information from Bauer;

* and/or soliciting for employment, including without limitation, recommending to IU Health or any other person affiliated with Bauer.

Bauer does not dispute the findings, but said the most important aspect of the decision centered on whether he could continue to work with Indiana University Health. In that particular matter, Bauer said, the judge ruled there was no non-compete agreement and that Bauer had not disclosed CHS proprietary information to IU Health. Therefore, the net effect of the decision was that Bauer could continue his relationship with IU Health unabated as long as he does not disclose any CHS business secrets or recruit CHS doctors working in the Lutheran Health Network. Bauer said that was what he had hoped to accomplish in the first place.

In an official statement released to NewsChannel 15, Bauer said, “CHS’s main request was for the court to prevent me from working with Indiana University Health. I am gratified the court has rejected that request. I’m excited to move forward with IU Health and expanding access to high quality healthcare in Fort Wayne.

CHS wasn’t reading between the lines and claimed its own victory backed up by the continuation of the lawsuit. “The court’s rulings directly contradict Bauer’s repeated and erroneous claims that the litigation against him is “baseless” and “without merit,” CHS said in a news release. “The court rulings not only demonstrate that the litigation has merit – they also ensure that the litigation will proceed and prohibit Bauer from continuing to use Lutheran’s confidential information for his personal gain.”
The injunction is a temporary order that remains in effect until the case is decided or the judge decides to lift it.

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