Lutheran Hospital parent wants former CEO barred from working for competitor IU Health

Brian Bauer

Former Lutheran Health Network CEO Brian Bauer has been helping IU Health establish a foothold in Fort Wayne, and Lutheran’s Tennessee-based parent company is asking a judge to put a stop to it.

Community Health Systems, which in December sued Bauer and five unnamed defendants in Williamson County, Tenn., Circuit Court, has now asked for a temporary injunction that would bar Bauer from using CHS’ “confidential and proprietary information” and from soliciting “plaintiffs’ employees in breach of Bauer’s stock option agreement.”

If granted, Bauer would be prevented from activities associated with IU Health “in any role because Bauer inevitably could or would disclose or use plaintiffs’ confidential or proprietary information.” Bauer would also be prevented from initiating certain financial activity “for the purpose of establishing health care services” in Fort Wayne using that confidential information.

Bauer was fired after he in May unsuccessfully presented a $2.4 billion bid for LHN from a group led by local doctors. CHS’ original lawsuit claimed Bauer has used inside information to undermine and devalue CHS, enrich himself and pave the way for IU’s entry into Fort Wayne.

In a motion to dismiss the case, however, Bauer contended the lawsuit was “an attempt to sabotage that business relationship (between Bauer and IU Health) and curtail any potential competition . . . plaintiffs’ lawsuit seeks to prevent Mr. Bauer from working with those who seek to improve access to quality health care in Fort Wayne and northern Indiana.”

The News-Sentinel first reported that IU Health would open a primary care facility in an existing building at Engle Road and West Jefferson Boulevard and build two outpatient facilities of more than 20,000 square feet each, one northeast and one near Lutheran Hospital.