Judge clears CDA to sue Delta Dental on behalf of members

Update: CDA files second amended complaint to pursue as many actionable claims against Delta Dental as possible
October 19, 2023
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Quick Summary: Update: CDA in November achieved another milestone in its lawsuit against Delta Dental of California by filing a second amended complaint to pursue as many actionable claims against Delta Dental as possible on behalf of members. A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled in September that CDA and individual dentist-plaintiffs could proceed on their claim that Delta Dental breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in adopting the 2023 contractual amendments. See next steps in CDA's fight on behalf of members and how to get help with dental benefit plan challenges now.

CDA files second amended complaint in November

Updated Nov. 14, 2023: CDA has achieved another milestone in its lawsuit against Delta Dental of California by filing a second amended complaint to pursue as many actionable claims against Delta Dental as possible on behalf of members.

Following a hearing in September, the Superior Court judge ruled in favor of CDA and the individual dentist-plaintiffs on several threshold issues and agreed there were sufficient allegations to proceed on the claim that Delta Dental breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in their 2023 contract amendments.

At that time, the court also granted CDA and individual plaintiffs the ability to amend the fiduciary duty claims with additional facts for consideration, including those against individual Delta Dental officers, directors and executives. The fiduciary duty claims are aimed at the specific legal obligations of the board and executive management. CDA and the individual plaintiffs allege that Delta Dental and its board must take into account the impact to dentists and their patients, not just look to enhance profits of the company and compensation of the executive management. The lawsuit alleges that some of the actions with regard to fees and contract amendments were taken without any consideration of those impacts.

Delta Dental will respond to CDA’s second amended complaint in early January, either with an answer or a motion to dismiss. In the meantime, the case continues in the discovery phase, during which CDA and Delta Dental will exchange information through document requests and depositions in a process that can take many months.

“Litigation takes time,” said CDA President John Blake, DDS. “We’re committed to transparency throughout the process of suing Delta Dental, fighting for members’ rights and using our collective resources to try to stop Delta Dental’s shameful practices.”

Background on lawsuit and first amended complaint

Oct. 19, 2023: CDA achieved a major milestone in its lawsuit against Delta Dental of California when a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled last month in favor of CDA and individual dentist-plaintiffs on several foundational issues, including the right to proceed on their claim that Delta Dental breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in adopting the 2023 contractual amendments.

CDA in late December 2022 filed the legal action against Delta Dental, individual directors and several executive employees challenging that Delta Dental was not meeting its fiduciary duties or honoring its contractual obligations to providers. This past April, CDA filed an amended complaint with additional claims and individual plaintiffs.

Delta Dental and the individual defendants filed motions to dismiss the claims.

While the court granted Delta Dental’s motion to dismiss certain claims, it also granted CDA and individual plaintiffs the ability to amend the complaint with additional facts for consideration, including claims for breach of fiduciary duty against individual Delta Dental officers and directors.

Guidance, one-on-one support can assist members now

CDA understands that navigating the pressures experienced with dental benefit plans is a daily challenge for many CDA members and that litigation does not provide immediate relief. Fee reductions and contract amendments are painful to dentists and their patients. Here are a few resources to help you make informed decisions when handling contracts and claims:

Working toward meaningful reform with help of engaged members

“CDA understands that dental benefit plans are the first, second and third biggest frustration for most of our members,” Dr. Blake said. “It’s through the collective strength and dues funding of our large active membership community that we’re able to pursue meaningful reform through litigation and legislation. Together, we already have two new bills signed into law to improve the clarity of dental plan transparency for dentists and patients.”

CDA will keep dentists informed of developments through the newsroom and weekly member newsletter. Dentists can also bookmark and visit the Dental Plan Action Center for announcements, past related news and links to the resources cited in this article.

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