Maternity Care Management Platform Dorsal filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court yesterday against a health tech company athenahealth and National Women’s Health Society Unified Healthcare for Womenalleging 11 counts against the vendors, including theft of trade secrets, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and tortious interference with current customers.
Dorsal offers a tool designed to help prevent variations in medical care during maternity and reduce the rate of preventable complications using point-of-care technology and clinical data.
In the complaint, Dorsata says that in 2021, Unified purchased Women’s Health USA, an existing Dorsata customer. After the acquisition, Athena approached Dorsata with the proposal that the two entities work together to pursue a broader relationship with Unified by creating an integrated solution to present to the company.
According to Dorsata, after signing a non-disclosure agreement and amid talks of Athena’s possible acquisition of the EHR drive, Dorsata provided trade secrets to Athena and oral agreements were made to approach Unified as a joint venture. .
Dorsata then developed a software product called vU which she and Athena would pitch to Unified together.
The Virginia-based EHR Player for Women’s Health alleges that athena was meanwhile creating her own version of vU without Dorsata’s knowledge to present to Unified. This simultaneously convinced the EHR player to sign a promissory note with an exclusivity clause, meaning Dorsata was barred from doing business with Athena competitors.
Dorsata also needed a cash injection for its business, and athena provided $6 million to the business, the terms of which were specified in the promissory note.
Dorsata says Unified aided and abetted Athena’s actions, and the two companies kicked Dorsata out of the deal, which among other things made it difficult for Dorsata to repay its $6 million owed to Athena by 2025.
The company also alleges that Athena solicits feedback from existing Dorsata customers, asking it to compare its UVA product to Dorsata’s and get feedback on how to improve its offering.
Dorsata brought nine causes of action against athena, including unfair and deceptive acts and practices, breach of oral contract, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, unjust enrichment, theft of trade secrets, tortious interference with current customers, breach of nondisclosure agreement, and trade disparagement.
The company brought two counts against Unified, including aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract.
Dorsata seeks damages resulting from loss of expected profits, value of reputational damage, loss of business value, value of lost future business, and damages for illegally obtained business/market advantage.
He also asks the court to find that the promissory note was “a fraudulent device intended to prevent Dorsata from competing in the market” and, therefore, to prevent athena from seeking to collect the $6 million.
“We have been badly damaged and we hope the court will rectify the situation,” David Fairbrothers, co-founder and CEO of Dorsata, told MobiHealthNews in an email.
In an email to MobiHealthNewsathenahealth said it does not comment on pending litigation.