MUSC files lawsuit to prevent doctors with ‘proprietary information’ from defecting to Trident cancer center

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – MUSC on Monday filed a motion for a temporary injunction in hopes of preventing six doctors and what the hospital claims is years worth of proprietary information from falling into the hands of competitors.

The motion claims that a group of doctors in the Department of Otolaryngology “began submitting their resignations en masse, and it became known that they were transitioning to MUSC’s competitors,” Trident.

The staff named as defendants in the motion include Terry Day, Betsy Davis, Joshua Hornig, Eric Lentsch, David Neskey, and Anand Sharma.

MUSC worries that the loss could be greater than just the group of six.

The motion claims that the defecting doctors are taking “confidential and proprietary information,” such as “procedure lists, procedure preference cards, instrument lists, and billing and revenue information.” It also accuses the defendants of trying to convince other MUSC employees and current Fellows to join them, which MUSC says would “sabotage” its Fellowship Training Program.

In anticipation of the argument that expanding healthcare is a win-win situation for all, MUSC argues that “the public interest weighs heavily” in its favor. The motion explains that “MUSC is a public academic health system, as well as an educational and research institution, whose mission is education, research, and clinical care,” while Trident “is a private, for-profit healthcare facility.”

Among the dozens of exhibits provided by MUSC are emails sent to and from the defendants.

In one email, one of the doctors says his “new position is asking for [his] case logs.” Another asks for advice regarding the legality of taking the Fellows. Many emails show that the doctors attempted to negotiate salary increases before their departures.

The motion asks for the injunction to be granted prior to December 1, at which point the doctors will officially terminate employment with MUSC.

Trident provided the following statement in response to the allegations:

“Physicians make independent decisions about their affiliations and frequently move their practice locations. These physicians decided that Trident Medical Center is the best hospital for them and their patients, and a last minute lawsuit should not keep cancer patients from getting the care they need.  We are well positioned to care for head and neck patients and are excited these physicians have chosen to be part of the Trident Medical Center team.”

Read the motion in full here:

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