July 24, 2023 : Dorsata, a maternity-care management platform, has taken legal action against Athenahealth, a healthcare technology company, and Unified Women’s Healthcare, a nationwide women’s health company, by filing a lawsuit in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Civil Court. The lawsuit, consisting of 11 counts, accuses the providers of various offenses, including theft of trade secrets, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and tortious interference with current customers.
Dorsata’s platform utilizes point-of-care technology and clinical data to prevent variations in medical care during maternity and reduce preventable complications. In the complaint, titled “Dorsata, Inc. vs. Athenahealth Group, Inc.,” Dorsata claims that Unified, which acquired one of its existing clients, Women’s Health USA, in 2021, approached them about collaborating to create an integrated solution for Unified.
After signing a nondisclosure agreement, Dorsata alleges that they provided trade secrets to Athenahealth during discussions of a potential acquisition. Simultaneously, Athenahealth secretly developed its version of Dorsata’s software, vU, which they planned to pitch to Unified independently. Athenahealth convinced Dorsata to sign a promissory note with an exclusivity clause, preventing Dorsata from conducting business with Athenahealth’s competitors.
To assist Athenahealth, Unified allegedly aided and abetted their actions, ultimately sidelining Dorsata from the deal. As a result, Dorsata faced challenges in repaying the $6 million cash infusion provided by Athenahealth, due by 2025.
Among the nine causes of action brought against athenahealth are claims of unfair and deceptive acts, breach of oral contract, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, unjust enrichment, theft of trade secrets, tortious interference with current customers, breach of a nondisclosure agreement, and commercial disparagement. Two counts were brought against Unified, including aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty and a breach of contract.
Dorsata seeks damages for the loss of expected profits, damage to reputation, loss of company valuation, loss of future business, and the advantage gained unlawfully by Athenahealth in the commercial marketplace. The company also requests that the court declare the promissory note as a “fraudulent artifice” designed to prevent Dorsata from competing, voiding Athenahealth’s ability to collect the $6 million.
David Fairbrothers, the co-founder and CEO of Dorsata, expressed the severity of the damages incurred and hopes that the court will rectify the situation through legal proceedings.