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Little is known about the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health care project. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Optum is suing an executive who left the company to work for the new health care venture created by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. The lawsuit, first reported by STAT, alleges that his new employment "poses a direct threat to Optum’s trade secrets and other confidential information."

Why it matters: It's been a year since the three conglomerates promised to "disrupt" the health care industry with their venture. And the only thing we really know about it now is that Optum — the profitable and growing division of UnitedHealth Group that provides health care, data services and pharmacy benefits — views it as a competitor.

Details: Optum really doesn't want its former employee to work for this "ABC" venture, as it's been called.

  • The ABC company, which is supposed to be a nonprofit and is led by Atul Gawande, is currently registered as "TCORP62018 LLC."
  • The former Optum employee, David Smith, made $200,000 a year plus stock as a vice president of product strategy. The company accused him of printing materials with Optum's trade secrets and attending confidential meetings right before he resigned.
  • The top lawyers for UnitedHealth and ABC corresponded with each other over Smith's new employment. UnitedHealth wrote in a letter that Smith's "inappropriate conduct" could violate state and federal trade secrets laws.
  • ABC has not explicitly said what it will do. However, according to the lawsuit, Smith said his "initial tasks will be in-depth research focused on the delivery and costs of health care for the over 1 million individuals covered by the health plans of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase" — indicating the venture will not be nearly as big or disruptive as some have made it out to be.

Go deeper: Read the lawsuit.

Go deeper

Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
25 mins ago - Economy & Business

The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.