BCBSM motion denied in $4.5 million breach-of-contract suit

In our Aug. 16, 2010, edition, we reported about a $4.5 million verdict rendered against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in a breach-of-contract and tortious interference lawsuit (“Their (Blue) Cross to bear”).

That stemmed from Pontiac-based TheraMatrix Services, Inc. contending BCBSM breached its agreement with the physical-therapy business over a program at Ford Motor Co. that would have saved the auto company millions of dollars in health care costs, and also interfered with TheraMatrix’s business relationship with Chrysler Motor Co. over a similar program.

Now, in a recent development, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Avadenka on Oct. 5 rejected BCBSM’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial.

BCBSM counsel Laurine S. Parmely said in August that “we don’t see this as more than a simple, contractual business dispute between two parties.”

But Rodger D. Young, counsel for TheraMatrix, indicated the possibility of filing another suit to seek damages for money lost during TheraMatrix’s 18-month hiatus from Blue Cross’ provider network – when Blue Cross terminated TheraMatrix as a participating provider for its health plans in Michigan.

As well, he added, there could be counts of anti-trust and anti-competitiveness asserted against Blue Cross, as officials from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice monitored the July 2010 trial.

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