Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Idaho

Idaho judge orders records disclosed in trade secrets case

BOISE – An Idaho judge has ordered a Florida dental services contractor to disclose nearly 100 pages from its successful bid for an Idaho Medicaid contract that the company had claimed was exempt from public disclosure as trade secrets.

The order came in a lawsuit filed by Blue Cross, which had the state contract but lost out to Florida-based MCNA Dental.

Blue Cross contended the Florida firm claimed much of its bid consisted of trade secrets – preventing Blue Cross from reviewing it to decide whether to challenge the bid award.

Judge Samuel Hoagland wrote, “The court finds that much of MCNA’s redacted information was previously disclosed publicly and was freely available on its own website, on various other state websites, and by simple Google searches.” Information that has been publicly disclosed, he wrote, “cannot now be claimed as a trade secret.”

Under Idaho law, “All public records are open unless expressly provided otherwise by statute,” the judge wrote.

In his 33-page decision, the judge meticulously went through individual page numbers from the bid and determined whether the information redacted was appropriate. He found that roughly 250 pages, plus eight attachments, were appropriately redacted from the MCNA bid. But nearly 100 other pages weren’t, he ruled.

MCNA argued in court that Blue Cross was just after its trade secrets for competitive reasons, and as the third-place finisher in the bid process, likely couldn’t successfully challenge the bid. The contract award, which was supposed to take effect Sept. 2, was put on hold by the lawsuit; Blue Cross and the state agreed to extend their existing contract until it was resolved.

Blue Cross also challenged redactions by the second-place bidder, Liberty Dental Plan of Nevada, but the judge ruled that those were appropriate under the Idaho Public Records Act.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.