Law360 covered a recent Florida appeals court case relating to a trade secret dispute between a managed-care company and a dental benefits provider. The decision made on March 20, 2019 by the 1st District Court of Appeal was a victory for Managed Care of North America, Inc. (MCNA), which does not have to turn over its list of prospective providers according to the ruling. MCNA was represented in the case by Gunster attorneys Kenneth B. Bell and Lauren Vickroy Purdy.
In 2015, MCNA beat out four other vendors in an “invitation to negotiate” by the Florida Healthy Kids Corp., a private nonprofit established by the state’s Legislature to run the state’s government-sponsored health insurance programs. One of the four losing bidders, Delta Dental Insurance Co., filed a public-records request to view the documents provided in MCNA’s winning submission, which is what ultimately led to the trade secret dispute.
The final ruling on Wednesday stated that Florida Healthy Kids “prefers to award contracts to a company that has not only built an impressive provider network, but is also actively working to expand and grow its provider network by targeting new prospective providers. Thus, the non-public information is important to winning the contract; and, failing to protect the confidentiality of this information would reveal MCNA’s regional marketing and contracting strategies to its competitors, thereby, destroying the business advantage this information gives MCNA.”
The ruling, however, allowed the release of spreadsheets of MCNA’s affiliated providers since this information can be obtained directly from the company online or via phone.
This decision is important for Florida businesses concerned about the risk of providing sensitive business information (trade secrets) in proposals and other filings with a public agency or related entity being disclosed as part of a public records request.
Ken Bell co-chairs Gunster’s statewide appellate law practice and is a former Florida Supreme Court Justice. Lauren Purdy is a trial lawyer who devotes a substantial portion of her practice to appeals.
Read the full article: Fla. insurer must give up partial provider list in contract spat