Dechert Secures Complete Dismissal for Delta Dental

May 31, 2024

A Dechert team recently secured the dismissal of all claims against Delta Dental of California (DDC), along with its directors and officers, in an important case that challenged DDC’s basic business model and freedom to determine prices for its participating providers.

DDC, part of a prominent group of dental insurers in the United States, announced in late 2022 that it would adjust its provider fee schedules, including reductions mainly affecting certain specialists, to better align with market conditions. Following these adjustments, the California Dental Association, representing tens of thousands of members, along with several individual dentists, filed a lawsuit against DDC and numerous directors and officers in the San Francisco Superior Court. The plaintiffs alleged breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of state law regarding unfair competition against DDC. The plaintiffs, as DDC members, also claimed breaches of duty of care and loyalty against the individual defendants, seeking to reverse the fee changes and obtain damages.

In October 2023, the Court dismissed all claims except the breach of covenant claim against DDC and the breach of duty claims against the individual defendants.  The Court dismissed the final claims on May 1, 2024, with prejudice, finding DDC's contractual rights remained intact and that the individual defendants had no relevant fiduciary duties to the dentists.

The Dechert team led by counsel Howard Ullman, included partners Russell Cohen and Richard Horvath; associates Joseph Trujillo, Christopher Mckeon, Elisa Beneze and Thomas Miller.

About Dechert 

Dechert is a global law firm that advises asset managers, financial institutions and corporations on issues critical to managing their business and their capital – from high-stakes litigation to complex transactions and regulatory matters. We answer questions that seem unsolvable, develop deal structures that are new to the market and protect clients' rights in extreme situations. Our nearly 1,000 lawyers across 20 offices globally focus on the financial services, private equity, private credit, real estate, life sciences and technology sectors.

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