Optum sues former executive over role in Amazon's joint health venture — 7 key details

Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group's Optum division is suing former IT executive David Smith for allegedly stealing trade secrets and taking them to Amazon's health venture with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase, CNBC reports.

What you should know:

1. Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Optum is suing Mr. Smith for breach of contract, alleging his position at the new venture "poses a direct threat to Optum's trade secrets and other confidential information." The lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts District court in mid-January.

2. Mr. Smith attended strategy meetings, sought information from departments he wasn't directly associated with and was among "fewer than 50 people at the company" with access to UnitedHealth's detailed profit and loss statements in the months leading up to his resignation, the lawsuit said.

3. At the same time, Mr. Smith reportedly inquired about working for Amazon-Berkshire-Chase and began interviewing with venture COO Jack Stoddard, who previously served as an Optum executive before it was acquired by UnitedHealth. Mr. Smith was offered a position in December.

4. Mr. Smith printed an Optum document containing highly confidential information the same day he talked with ABC and one minute before printing his resume, according to UnitedHealth's complaint. He allegedly continued printing confidential documents before leaving the company.

5. Mr. Smith's lawyers said he was escorted from his office and "left all Optum property behind" two days after telling his supervisors he accepted another offer, according to a response filed Jan. 22. The defendant's attorneys said Mr. Smith's role with ABC isn't a competitive one and that ABC doesn't directly compete for business with Optum.

6. Mr. Smith's attorneys said Optum is suing their client out of fear of Amazon.

"Optum had mistakenly confused Amazon initiatives that are not strategies or initiatives of ABC, which is a completely separate entity, and had feared that those initiatives were competitive with Optum," the response said.

7. An Amazon-Berkshire-Chase spokesperson declined to comment to CNBC. A UnitedHealth representative told CNBC the company is committed to protecting its intellectual property.

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