On September 30, 2020, a Texas federal jury found that San Francisco-based billing technology company Hint Health did not misappropriate the trade secrets of its former partner, Accresa. The jury also rejected Hint Health’s defamation counterclaim and awarded no damages on its breach of contract counterclaim.
Both Accresa and Hint Health operate in the direct primary care sector, where patients can choose their primary doctor while avoiding the limitations of health insurance networks. Accresa uses a system that routes funds from employers’ accounts to physicians’ accounts based on the plan for each employer. Hint Health also makes software for medical practices that use the direct primary care model.
Accresa claimed that Hint Health had fraudulently induced Accresa to enter into a partnership agreement with an alleged intent to integrate product offerings. Accresa contended that instead of collaborating, Hint Health used its trade secrets to compete with Accresa, in violation of Texas and federal law. Accresa also claimed that Hint Health breached the parties’ agreement. By contrast, Hint Health alleged that Accresa breached the agreement, defamed and disparaged Hint Health, and interfered with Hint Health’s prospective business relationships.
The jury verdict came after 12 days of in-person trial and more than two years of litigation. While the jury found that trade secrets existed and that Accresa owned them, the jury found that Hint Health had not misappropriated those trade secrets.
On November 2, 2020, Accresa filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the jury’s zero-dollar award on Accresa’s breach of contract claim was improper. Accresa also filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law, in which it argued that the evidence shows that a jury could reasonably find that Hint Health misappropriated Accresa’s trade secrets by acquiring the trade secrets via improper means, by acquiring the trade secrets under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain secrecy, or by using the trade secrets. In response, Hint Health argued Accresa failed to show that no reasonable jury could have found Hint Health never misappropriated the trade secrets. The motion is pending.