The U.S. Justice Department dropped a case against UnitedHealth Group’s Surgical Care Affiliates that alleged the ambulatory surgery center and surgical hospital operator conspired with rivals to not poach senior-level employees.
U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay on Monday granted the department’s motion to dismiss the case, according to a filing in a Dallas federal court, where the original indictment was filed. The department said in the motion that dismissal "will allow the conservation of this court's time and resources."
A spokesperson for Deerfield, Illinois-based Surgical Care Affiliates, which owns or operates more than 320 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals, said in a statement the dismissal is the “right outcome” and that the case “should have never been brought." UnitedHealth’s Optum health services division acquired Surgical Care Affiliates in 2017 for $2.3 billion.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The DOJ filed an indictment against Surgical Care Affiliates in January 2021, charging the company with two counts of conspiracy in restraint of trade to allocate employees, alleging it had so-called “no-poach” agreements with two unnamed competitors that spanned May 2010 to October 2017.