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Commonwealth v. Eiseman

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-19-2014
Case #: No. 1950 C.D. 2012
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Full Text Opinion: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Commonwealth/out/945CD13_2-19-14.pdf
LexisNxis Link: 2014 Pa. Common. LEXIS 112
Westlaw Link: 2014 WL 631231

Trade Secrets: Disclosure: To the extent capitation rates constitute trade secrets, that information may be redacted in accordance with the Trade Secrets Act which protects against misappropriation of trade secrets, including disclosure without consent.

OPINION (Simpson):  James Eiseman, Jr., ("defendant") requested records from Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare ("DPW") regarding any rate of payment, amount that any individual dental procedure would cause for someone with Medicaid HMO, or the rate of payment that any Medicaid HMO rates of payment to Medicaid recipients in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Eiseman did not submit testimonial evidence or affidavits accompanying his request.  The commonwealth submitted that the documents should be redacted based on the Trade Secrets Act.  In deciding the records were not trade secrets, the court declined to redact. The direct interest participants and DPW appealed. To the extent the capitation rates constitute trade secrets, that information may be redacted in accordance with the Trade Secrets Act which protects against misappropriation of trade secrets, including disclosure without consent. Pennsylvania courts confer “trade secret” status based upon several factors such as the extent to which the information is known outside of the business, the extent of measures taken to guard the secrecy of the information, etc. The court determined that the record revealed little evidence of competitive value in the Capitation Rates. Furthermore, other than confidentiality provisions in its contracts, DPW made no effort to maintain the secrecy of Capitation Rates. For that reason, the judgment was AFFIRMED.