Federal RICO Charges|Against Clinic Dismissed

     BOISE, Idaho (CN) – Claims that an East Coast health clinic used fraud and extortion to squeeze out a business partner in Boise do not constitute a pattern of racketeering, a federal judge ruled.
     Plaintiff Danielle Bennion has owned Northwest Osteoscreening since 2001. The company offers blood pressure checks, body mass index calculations, and provides vaccinations for businesses and government agencies in Idaho.
     Northwest Osteo was not a “credentialed provider” under Idaho insurance laws, meaning it billed patients directly, not their insurance companies.
     She also began working for Mountain View Hospital (MVH) LLC in 2011. Bennion said she saw an opportunity when provisions of the Affordable Care Act did away with deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays for some existing health plans.
     She proposed a partnership between Northwest Osteo and MVH, by which Bennion would provide services under MVH’s “credentialed provider” status.
     A partnership was formed, called Idaho Health Screenings and Vaccinations (IHSV) LLC.
     Bennion claimed it worked out until MVH CEO James Adamson found out how much money she was making, and began trying to squeeze her out, at first by withholding insurance proceeds, then by intimidating her through an email.
     She claims that Adamson, once he knew he couldn’t buy her out, founded a start-up company in Boise to compete with Northwest Osteo, using her trade secrets, business model and clients.
     She sued Adamson, Benjamin Wood, Josh Talman, Mountain View Hospital, Siasconset LLC, Preventative Health LLC and Wellness Screenings LLC, on federal RICO charges.
     But U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said Thursday that Bennion didn’t have enough to establish her RICO claims.
     “The court concludes that the alleged fraud and extortion defendants employed to oust Bennion and replace IHSV do not establish a pattern of racketeering activity,” he said in a 16-page order.
     “As a result, plaintiffs’ RICO claims will be dismissed with prejudice.”

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