Sidibe, et al. v. Sutter Health
3:12-cv-4854-LB

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • Plaintiffs claim that Sutter forced upon Health Plans certain pricing and contractual terms, and those practices and terms violated state and federal antitrust and unfair competition laws. Plaintiffs claim this caused the Health Plans to pay more than they otherwise would for Sutter’s hospital services, and that this resulted in higher insurance premiums for Class Members whether or not they used Sutter hospitals. Plaintiffs seek: (1) a Court order prohibiting Sutter from engaging in the alleged anticompetitive conduct, and (2) compensation for Class Members for the premium overcharges they allegedly paid for health insurance.

    Sutter denies that it violated any antitrust or unfair competition laws, or that its conduct caused any increase in the price of premiums that individuals and employers paid for health insurance from those Health Plans. Sutter seeks a judgement in its favor that plaintiffs take nothing by virtue of this lawsuit.

  • The Class certified by the Court includes:

    “All entities in California Rating area 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 (the “Nine Rating Areas” or “Nine RAs”), and all individuals that either live or work in one of the Nine RAs, that paid premiums for a fully-insured health insurance policy from Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, Health Net or United Healthcare from January 1, 2011 to the present. This class definition includes Class Members that paid premiums for individual health insurance policies that they purchased from these health plans and Class Members that paid premiums, in whole or in part, for health insurance policies provided to them as a benefit from an employer or other group purchaser located in one of the Nine RAs.”

    This means you may be a Class Member if you paid any portion of a premium for a fully-insured health insurance policy from any of these five Health Plans at any time from January 1, 2011 to the present, and if, during the period you paid those premiums, you lived or worked (or, if you are an employer, had an office located) in one of the following California counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo or Yuba.

    Please note that federal employees are not members of the Class for the period they were employed by the federal government, nor are persons whose in-patient hospital services were paid for by Medicare or Medi-Cal.

  • In a class action, one or more people or entities called “Class Representatives” (in this case, Djeneba Sidibe, Jerry Jankowski, Susan Herman, David Hansen, Johnson Pool & Spa and Optimum Graphics, Inc.) file a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people who have similar claims. All these people and entities are a “Class” or “Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who excluded themselves from (or opted out of) the Class.

  • The Court decided that this lawsuit can proceed as a class action because it meets the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which govern class actions in United States federal courts.

  • The Court authorized the Notice because the persons described in FAQ #2 may be Class Members and have a right to know about the lawsuit and their legal rights and options. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Class, legal rights and options, and the deadlines by which to exercise those options.

  • The lawsuit is pending in the District Court before United States Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler. Trial is scheduled to begin on January 6, 2022.

  • No money or benefits are available now because there has not been a trial and there is no settlement. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be available to Class Members. If they do become available, a separate notice will be issued about how to submit a claim for potential money or benefits.

  • You are potentially a Class Member if you paid any portion of a premium for a fully-insured health insurance policy from Aetna, Anthem, Blue Shield, Health Net or UHC at any time from January 1, 2011 to the present, and if, during that time, you lived or worked (or, if you are an employer, had an office located) in any of the following counties:

    Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo or Yuba.

    Please note that federal employees are not members of the Class for the period they were employed by the federal government, nor are persons whose in-patient hospital services were paid for by Medicare or Medi-Cal.

  • Any fully-insured health insurance policy from one of the Health Plans (Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net or United HealthCare) qualifies. Individual, small or large group plans qualify, including, but not limited to, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. You may be a Class Member if you paid some portion of a health insurance premium for any such plan at any time since January 1, 2011 and you lived in or worked in one of the relevant California counties (see FAQ #2 above) when you were making those payments.

  • A fully-insured health insurance policy is a health insurance policy where the premium is paid to the health plan, and the health plan covers the healthcare costs (other than deductibles, co-pays and certain other fees) for the individual who is insured. Many employers purchase fully-insured policies for their employees, and, in some cases, they and their employees agree that the employees will pay a portion of the premium. Individuals who purchase health insurance on their own also purchase a fully-insured policy. If you paid any premium, in whole or in part, for a fully-insured health insurance policy from one of the Health Plans at any time since January 1, 2011, you may be a Class Member.

    A fully-insured policy is different from a “self-insured” policy. For a self-insured policy, the employer covers the health care costs (other than deductibles, co-pays and certain other fees) for the individuals who are insured. However, the employer usually hires a health plan to provide administrative services to manage the plan for the employer under an “administrative services only” or “ASO” contract. Many medium and large employers are self-insured. That is true even though the covered employees pay premiums to a health plan, have an insurance card from the health plan, receive statements and invoices from the health plan, have accounts on the health plan’s website, and have a health savings account through the health plan. If you participated only in self-insured policies since January 1, 2011, or you only provided self-insured policies to your employees or group members, you are not a Class Member.

  • If you are not sure, ask your employer or your health plan. If you are unable to ask your employer or health plan, assume that you had a fully-insured policy and that you are a Class Member. A final determination will be made at a later time in the claims administration process.

  • Yes, if you were located in one of the relevant California counties (see FAQ #2) at any time from January 1, 2011 to the present and, during that period, you paid some portion of health insurance premiums for a fully-insured policy from one of the Health Plans, you are a Class Member.

  • Yes, if you lived or worked in one of the relevant California counties (see FAQ #2) at any time from January 1, 2011 to the present and, during that period, you paid some portion of health insurance premiums for a fully-insured policy from one of the Health Plans, you are a Class Member.

  • The UFCW case alleges similar claims against Sutter for anticompetitive conduct but is brought on behalf of entities that purchased self-insured health insurance policies. Even if you are already a member of the UFCW Class, you may also be a Class Member in this case if you paid a premium for a fully-insured health insurance policy.

  • No. Someone who was covered under a fully-insured policy but did not pay the premiums is not a Class Member.

  • If you paid some portion of premiums for a fully-insured health insurance policy from a Health Plan at any time from January 1, 2011 to the present, and you meet the other requirements outlined in FAQ #2, you are a Class Member.

  • If you do nothing, you will be bound by the outcome of the lawsuit regardless of who wins. You will keep the possibility of getting money or benefits that may come from a trial or settlement. Unless you excluded yourself from the Class, you will not be able to file a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit asserting claims against Sutter related to the allegations or claims in this case―other than if you are a member of the UFCW Class described in FAQ # 14. Once you are in the Class, you will not be able to remove yourself from it.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself passed on March 8, 2021. If you excluded yourself from the Class by “opting out,” you will not be eligible to receive a payment from future settlements or judgments in this lawsuit. You will keep your right to sue Sutter relating to the claims in this lawsuit. If you excluded yourself or opted out, you did not do so with respect to any injunction that the Court may enter in the lawsuit.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself passed on March 8, 2021.

     
  • Yes. The Court has appointed lawyers to represent you and the other Class Members. These lawyers are called Class Counsel. The following lawyers represent the Class:

    Matthew L. Cantor
    Constantine Cannon LLP
    335 Madison Avenue
    New York, NY 10017
    (212) 350-2700

    Azra Mehdi
    The Mehdi Firm, PC
    One Market Street
    Spear Tower, Suite 3600
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    (415) 293-8039

     

     
  • If Plaintiffs prevail in the lawsuit, Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve attorney’s fees, which may be up to one-third of any recovery that may be obtained in this lawsuit, plus costs and expenses. They also will ask the Court to approve incentive payments to the named Plaintiffs from any recovery that may be obtained in this lawsuit. Those fees, costs and awards must be approved by the Court.

  • You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel are working on behalf of the Class. If you choose to hire your own lawyer to represent you, you will have to pay for that lawyer on your own.

  • Class Counsel has hired JND Legal Administration to assist with the class notice process and to maintain this website for all Class Members. Updates regarding the case and the class notice process will be provided on this website and not by additional mailings to potential Class Members. This includes major developments in the case, supplemental information to be distributed to the Class, and changes to dates the Court sets. Please check this website on a regular basis to see whether there are updates or new information.

  • The Notice contains a summary of the lawsuit and the proceedings. You may access additional information on this website. Complete copies of the pleadings, orders and other publicly filed documents in the lawsuit may be accessed for a fee through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at ecf.cand.uscourts.gov. They also may be examined and copied at any time during regular office hours at the office of the Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102-3489.

     
  • Any questions you have concerning the Notice, or any corrections or changes of name or address should be directed via email using the "Email Us" form on the Contact Us page of this website, or by mail to Sutter Health Litigation Notice Administrator, c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91350, Seattle, WA 98111. For additional questions you may call toll-free 1-833-961-3465.

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS CASE.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

Sutter Health Litigation Notice Administrator
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91350
Seattle, WA 98111