Judge: CVS can depose Cigna CEO in noncompete case

Cigna CEO David Cordani must sit for a deposition as the company seeks to block a former executive from taking a role with rival CVS Health, a federal judge ruled March 17. 

Amy Bricker served as president of Cigna's pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts. She resigned Jan. 10 to become CVS' executive vice president and chief product officer-consumer. She was set to begin her new position Feb. 20, but a federal judge granted Cigna a temporary restraining order blocking her from starting the new job. 

Cigna has argued that Ms. Bricker's hiring by CVS violates a noncompete agreement and puts trade secrets at risk. 

Cigna attempted to block Mr. Cordani's CEO notice, arguing it would be "unduly burdensome" and cited the apex rule, which states that to obtain deposition from a high-level corporate official, parties must demonstrate that the executive has unique or special knowledge of the facts at issue and "other, less burdensome avenues for obtaining information have been exhausted."   

CVS argued that Cigna itself asserted that Ms. Bricker's role in the company's role in decision-making and strategic planning was comprehensive and shared by only a small subset of Cigna executives led by Mr. Cordani. He, then, would have "unique, superior knowledge about those facts."  

Federal Judge Ronnie White wrote in his order that CVS established that there is a likelihood that Mr. Cordani has unique or special knowledge that will be at issue in the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for March 30. He also wrote that Cigna "has not demonstrated that a three-hour deposition of its CEO would be unduly burdensome, especially in light of its allegations in this case." 

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. 

Cigna did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Becker's. A CVS spokesperson previously told Becker's the company does not comment on legal proceedings. 

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