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November 10, 2015

Nonprofit Calif. Health Insurer Sues Executive-Turned-Critic

Blue Shield of California is taking its former public policy director to court for allegedly disclosing confidential information about the nonprofit health insurance company, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Michael Johnson launched a campaign against Blue Shield after resigning in March after 12 years with the organization, which he claims has shortchanged the public and operated like a for-profit firm by amassing large cash reserves and paying top officials millions of dollars in wages and benefits. He said the breach-of-contract complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court is aimed at saddling him with big legal bills.

In the suit, Blue Shield said it recognizes Mr. Johnson's right to air his views but that he "is not entitled ... to publicly disclose the details of highly confidential or attorney-client privileged matters that he learned by virtue of his employment." The company said those matters include protected information on compensation and communications between it and California's Franchise Tax Board, which voted last year to revoke Blue Shield's state tax exemption.