West Penn Allegheny files complaint against rival UPMC

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West Penn Allegheny Health System filed an amended complaint Tuesday in its 3-year-old antitrust lawsuit against rival UPMC.

The complaint said that since 1999, UPMC "has used various predatory tactics to advance its scheme to crush its last competitor." The alleged tactics: forming joint ventures with community hospitals that excluded its rival, paying "bribes" to physicians to leave West Penn Allegheny, making "defamatory comments" to sabotage West Penn Allegheny's efforts to borrow, and "threatening" dominant insurer Highmark.

UPMC's attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to set a May 23 deadline to respond to the amended complaint.

West Penn Allegheny originally sued both UPMC and Highmark, accusing them of conspiring to stifle competition. West Penn Allegheny dropped Highmark from the lawsuit when the two agreed to merge.

Judge Conti took over the case when the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals removed it from Judge Arthur J. Schwab's caseload. West Penn Allegheny had accused Judge Schwab of misrepresenting its arguments.

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