A Douglas County judge is considering two motions by Atrio Health Plans, Inc., to move a lawsuit filed in Douglas County against Optima, LLC, to Marion County and to consolidate the lawsuit with one that Atrio filed against Optima.
Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Frances Burge heard arguments on the motions Tuesday, and said she is leaning toward approving the venue change.
“Our position is that this case should have never been filed in this county,” said Richard Sieving, Atrio’s attorney. “It was because the plaintiff here, Optima, learned there was going to be a much larger case filed against it and this case was filed here solely to get the venue in this county.”
Optima is a small Roseburg company that operates under the business name of “inteligenz” and set up a billing program for Atrio, a company that offers Medicare Advantage health plans.
“(Atrio) listed their primary place of business in Roseburg all the way up through and past the time this lawsuit was filed,” said Optima attorney Aaron Potter. “It wasn’t until July 19, 2019 that Atrio changed its primary place of business to Marion County, so technical venue is established, there is no question.”
The Douglas County lawsuit, originally filed by Optima on April 29, 2018, claims that Atrio “breached the master software license and technical services agreement” with Optima by failing to make any payments after January 2018 with 1 1/2 years left on the 2016 contract. The suit asks Atrio to pay for the remaining $1.4 million of the contract.
“I am going to say that based on everything else that was presented, I am leaning toward a change of venue,” Burge said.
Atrio’s attorneys want the case combined with the $60 million lawsuit filed by Atrio in Marion County against Optima and Performance Health Technology of Salem. PH Tech provided processing and related services for Atrio. That case was transferred to U.S. District Court in Eugene but then remanded back to Marion County on Aug. 21.
“I will make that determination based on the change of venue motion ruling as well,” Burge said.
Potter said if the judge grants the change of venue, he might file a motion in Marion County to try to get it sent back to Douglas County.
Burge took the case under advisement and said she wanted to do more research before rendering a decision.
Atrio’s attorneys claim the suit against Optima and PH Tech was filed in Marion County because it is Atrio’s principal place of business and that the president and other corporate officers of the company are located there and that the two cases should be combined as one because they are similar issues.
The suit alleges that PH Tech, breached its contract and provided negligent services and that Optima provided defective services. The lawsuit also alleges that Optima’s software failed to catch numerous errors by PH Tech.
PH Tech processes information to send to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for bills and claims.
Atrio was established in Roseburg in 2004 by a group of physicians, and the company still has offices in Roseburg, but moved its administration offices to Salem just a few years ago.