Law360 (February 22, 2019, 7:03 PM EST) — In a trial likely to turn heavily on the words “best efforts” and claims of subterfuge, insurance giants Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. will square off in Delaware’s Chancery Court Mondayover a $54 billion merger that came unglued in 2017, with as much as $20.5 billion in damages hanging in the balance.
Depending on the outcome, payouts could swing by more than $37 billion between Anthem’s $20.5 billion damages bid and Cigna’s $16.5 billion ask after an expected 10-day trial in Wilmington before Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster. As many as 44 witnesses are in line to testify, with a stack of court filings so high that the vice chancellor ordered a “paperless” proceeding, with documents to be shared via thumb drive.
At the heart of the case are Cigna’s claims that Anthem bungled regulatory and antitrust reviews triggered by the announcement of their merger in 2015. Anthem, the largest of the nation’s 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association insurers, accused Cigna’s top officers of sabotaging the deal in a disappointed snit over their potential roles in the post-closing business.