Former Cigna exec still barred from taking CVS role

A federal appeals court ruled that a lower court did not abuse its broad discretion by granting Cigna a request for a preliminary injunction barring a former executive from taking a job at CVS Health while a lawsuit over her noncompete clause moves forward. 

In June 2023, a federal judge in St. Louis issued the preliminary injunction barring Amy Bricker  from providing services to CVS Pharmacy, CVS Health, any of its entities or any other business that is "engaged in a business similar to, or that competes with, the business of Cigna." She is also barred from disclosing Cigna trade secrets or confidential information. 

Ms. Bricker served as president of Cigna's pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts. She resigned in January 2023 to become CVS' executive vice president and chief product officer-consumer. She was set to begin her new position the following month, but Cigna sued to block her from taking the new job. 

Cigna alleged in the lawsuit that CVS' hiring of Ms. Bricker puts its trade secrets at risk. Express Scripts outbid CVS Caremark in 2022 for a $35 billion PBM contract with Centene. Ms. Bricker helmed Express Scripts' efforts, which led to a "high six-figure spot bonus," according to the lawsuit. 

CVS has argued that Ms. Bricker's noncompete clause is unenforceable because it is overly broad and anti-competitive. The company also argued it does not apply to her new position because it will be unlike her Cigna role.

CVS and Ms. Bricker appealed the federal district court's preliminary injunction less than two weeks after it was handed down. 

"When a district court correctly interprets state law and does not clearly err in its factual findings, we will rarely disturb its grant of a preliminary injunction to enforce a noncompete agreement," the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals judges said in their June 5 ruling. "Here, the district court correctly interpreted Missouri law and made detailed factual findings that are not clearly erroneous." 

A CVS Health spokesperson told Becker's the company is disappointed in the ruling and evaluating its options. 

A message sent to Cigna seeking comment was not immediately returned. 

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