Cigna files noncompete suit against former exec, CVS Health

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Cigna is suing a former executive claiming she broke a noncompete contract, and CVS Health for poaching her.

Cigna filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on Thursday that alleges Amy Bricker, president of the company’s Express Scripts pharmacy benefit manager, violated her employment contract. Cigna asserts the agreement bars her from taking senior roles with rival companies including “chief competitor” CVS Health, which operates the CVS Caremark PBM.

“Cigna will be immediately and irreparably harmed if defendant Bricker is permitted to commence her new position with CVS,” Cigna wrote in the lawsuit.

Bricker is one of 16 Cigna employees bound by noncompete agreements among the company’s 70,000-person workforce, according to the lawsuit. Bricker was promoted to president of Express Scripts, which is part of Cigna’s Evernorth subsidiary, in 2020 after joining the company a decade earlier.

This lawsuit coincides with the federal government’s attempt to ban employee noncompete clauses. The Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule this month that could put an end to the agreements, which critics contend suppress wages, limit innovation and discourage new businesses.

CVS Health announced Bricker’s appointment as chief product officer for its consumer health division last Monday. She provided Cigna less than two weeks notice and her last day at Cigna is scheduled to be Friday according to the insurer. Adam Kautzner, Express Scripts’ senior vice president of supply chain, will succeed her, the company previously announced.

In her role at Cigna, Bricker gained information about Evernorth’s plans for product development, financial performance, business projections and partnerships, according to the lawsuit. In its filing, Cigna wrote the noncompete provision is necessary to protect trade secrets and confidential business information. The company has not responded to a request for comment.

A CVS Health spokesperson said the company does not comment on legal proceedings.

Bricker played a central role securing Express Scripts’ contract with Centene in October over rivals including CVS Health. CVS Caremark previously managed Centene’s drug spending.

Cigna’s allegation follows a string of similar cases between healthcare employers, former employees and competitors over noncompete agreements.

Last February, Tampa, Florida-based Physician Partners of America and its senior leaders agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle claims that they violated noncompete agreements when it hired doctors from other employers. Two months later, healthcare information technology company Change Healthcare sued a former executive for allegedly violating a noncompete contract.

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