Business Court: HCA Healthcare antitrust lawsuit can proceed

Mission Hospital via Mission PR

RALEIGH — A North Carolina Business Court order has denied a motion to fully dismiss an antitrust lawsuit against HCA Healthcare involving the 2019 acquisition of Mission Health. 

Judge Mark Davis of the Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases issued his order on Sept. 19  

 The case was filed in Buncombe County by Asheville-area plaintiffs in 2021. The lawsuit alleges HCA Healthcare and associated entities engaged in monopolistic practices that has lowered quality of care while increasing prices. 

Davis’ opinion addressed seven requests for dismissal by the defendants, denying two and granting the five others. The opinion denied the motion to dismiss on the grounds the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case and on the restraint of trade claim. 

Defendants’ motions to dismiss the “monopoly” claims were granted, however, only the motion to dismiss the monopolization claim under the North Carolina Constitution was the only one dismissed with prejudice. 

“I’m very pleased with the Business Court’s decision,” State Treasurer Dale Folwell said in a statement. “Now, we can start to get to the bottom of this through the legal process with discovery and witness testimony. I‘m eager to see pricing fairness and high quality return to the medical services needed by the citizens of Western North Carolina.”  

Late last year, Folwell filed an amicus curiae brief as an individual citizen following the North Carolina Department of Justice rejecting his request to join the lawsuit as a party to in order to protect the State Health Plan which Folwell’s office oversees.