Open-file lawsuits related to Nomi Health’s coronavirus response have also been filed in Utah and Iowa
An Orem company that has received millions of taxpayer funded contracts in Utah and four other states are fighting a lawsuit in Nebraska seeking information that validated a diagnostic test at the heart of the state’s coronavirus testing program, court records show.
A public records lawsuit filed in Nebraska on behalf of Salt Lake City Tribune Board Chairman Paul Huntsman requests an unredacted copy of the validation report kept by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Nomi Health claims that such publication would reveal trade secrets.
The lawsuit, which names Dr. Matthew Donahue, the state’s acting epidemiologist, as a respondent and Nomi as an interested party, says Nebraska has provided no evidence that trade secrets are included in the report, while obscuring most of the documents “including any information that would support, contradict or otherwise explain its findings.
The accuracy of the tests used by TestUtah has been debated since the early days of the pandemic, when medical experts in Utah raised questions about the positivity rates reported by the program, which precipitated a change in provider from testing and laboratory.
Nomi formally responded to the lawsuit by stating that the publication of the full validation report would disclose “proprietary or commercial information which, if disclosed, would give commercial competitors an advantage and serve no public purpose.”
David Lopez, an attorney for Nomi, declined to comment.
In March 2021, Huntsman formed the limited liability company Jittai, which also filed lawsuits against public records related to the coronavirus response in Utah and Iowa.
Utah lawsuit alleges Governor Spencer Cox is delaying release of COVID-19 related files. A spokesperson for the Cox administration had previously declined to comment, citing a policy of not speaking out on pending litigation.
In Iowa, Jittai searched for emails between state officials and their counterparts in Utah, Nebraska and Tennessee.
Nomi secured his first coronavirus contract in early April 2020 for TestUtah, a collaboration originally billed as a technology-driven, public-focused industry and government twinning to expand testing and, later, vaccinations. Several Utah Silicon Slopes companies have joined the state’s public response to coronaviruses.
The program was quickly replicated in Iowa, Tennessee, and Nebraska. Tennessee then canceled its contract over concerns about the validity of diagnostic tests. The tests were provided through Nomi by another Utah company, Co-Diagnostics, which has been federally monitored. Co-Diagnostics did not respond to requests for comment.
Some elements of the program have also been adopted in Florida, where Nomi has won more than $ 46.5 million in testing and vaccination contracts awarded through the governor’s office, according to the records.
Suzette Rasmussen, former staff attorney and records director for Utah Governor Gary Herbert, represents the Jittai Company of Huntsman. She filed the registration applications and subsequent lawsuits in Nebraska, as well as Utah and Iowa. Andre Berry, a Lincoln attorney, represents Rasmussen in the Nebraska lawsuit and declined to comment.
Nomi Health’s attorneys allege that Rasmussen “represents one or more persons or entities with interests contrary to those of Nomi Health …” and that his efforts to obtain the full report “are intended solely to serve those private interests, and not for any purpose. known public. “
Huntsman, who is funding the multi-state effort to dig through loose files related to officials’ responses to the pandemic, said in an email he had no financial interest in any of the companies involved in the response to the pandemic. the pandemic of the various states, no more than The gallery.
In the midst of a burgeoning delta variant, he said, the public should have access to recordings that will answer important questions about the initial response of the coronavirus.
Utah recently saw its largest daily number of new cases since February, and intensive care unit beds in hospitals are filling again.
âThe public looked to and trusted government leaders to protect public health and guide us through this pandemic,â Huntsman said. âRelease all files, let them be reviewed and ask experts to determine if Nomi and his partners really were the most qualified people – as they have claimed – to deal with such a serious public health crisis. “