A California appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a lower court’s decision holding that Sutter Health, a group of health care providers in Northern California, could not compel a union’s benefits trust to arbitrate its putative class claim that the health system overcharged millions of workers.
The three-judge panel held Tuesday that Sutter couldn’t compel the United Food and Commercial Workers & Employers Benefits Trust to arbitrate claims of antitrust and unfair competition claims because the trust, also called UEBT, never signed a “provider contract" — that included an arbitration agreement — between its contracted health care provider, Blue Shield of California, and Sutter.
“It is undisputed the UEBT did not sign a provider contract, which contains an arbitration agreement,” the decision said. “UEBT only signed the [administrative services only] contract, in which is expressly agreed to litigate unresolved disputes in California courts.”
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