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Optum can’t block one of its former employees from working for the new health care venture formed by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Berkshire Hathaway while waiting for an arbitration process between the two companies to begin, a federal judge in Boston ruled Friday.

The decision comes after a series of highly contentious hearings — including one that was closed to the public — about whether David Smith, formerly a mid-level executive at the subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, violated a noncompete agreement when he took his new position.


The case has received disproportionate attention for a fight nominally over one employee’s contract because the hearings have shed new light on the secretive health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase in 2018. Some experts in the field believe the venture may be one of the earliest and most important forays by a tech company into the health insurance market.

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  • No one will bother to look at the data that may have alreayd come from Optum, and other companies like it. They have data on millions of Americans, which they ahev already sold for otehr purposes, without our permission.

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