Elevance Health cannot prevent a former executive from beginning work at Molina Healthcare, a federal judge ruled.
In the ruling issued Sept. 15, a judge in the Southern District of Indiana court rejected Elevance Health's request for a temporary restraining order that would prevent Vinod Mohan from beginning her work as senior vice president of Medicare at Molina, which directly competes with Elevance in several markets.
Ms. Mohan was formerly west region Medicare president for Elevance Health. The company filed a lawsuit in August alleging Ms. Mohan retained a printed document containing information about Elevance Health's Medicare bid strategy and alleged Ms. Mohan will "undoubtedly remember" confidential information she learned during her employment with Elevance for "the foreseeable future and will inevitably use them in her role at Molina."
In a document filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California Sept. 7, Molina and Ms. Mohan called the allegations "wholly false."
The judge ruled Elevance Health's claims that Ms. Mohan will inevitably disclose trade secrets to Molina "improbable."
"Elevance's speculation that Ms. Mohan may, at some unidentified point in the future, use trade secrets is insufficient to establish the imminent, irreparable harm, absent an injunction, required to justify the extraordinary relief of an emergency [temporary restraining order]," the judge wrote.
In the ruling, the judge said Ms. Mohan intended to begin employment with Molina on Sept. 18.
Indianapolis-based Elevance filed its legal action in the Southern District of Indiana. Ms. Mohan and Molina filed a response in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, arguing California is the correct forum for the case, because Ms. Mohan is a California resident and resided in California during her employment with Elevance.
In the ruling, the judge said Elevance's suit will remain in Indiana court, as the state "has a strong interest in vindicating the rights of one of its largest employers."
In a response filed Sept. 20 in Central District of California, Elevance said it presumes Ms. Mohan has begun her employment with Molina. The scope of the legal action has been narrowed "to address financial losses suffered by Elevance Health related to the alleged improper use of its confidential information."
Becker's has reached out to Elevance Health and Molina Healthcare for comment and will update this article if more information becomes available.