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⚖️ What’s going on with DaVita and why it matters



Last month, Denver was at the center of a high-profile federal civil suit regarding police brutality. The case set new precedents for similar cases around the country.

Now, the eyes of the nation are once again following a first-of-its-kind federal trial starring Denver with the case of U.S. v. DaVita Inc.

Here’s the situation.
DaVita, the 20-year-old Denver-based dialysis company, and its former CEO, Kent Thiry, are facing charges of criminal conspiracy for entering non-solicitation agreements with other healthcare companies. Basically, they vowed not to recruit or poach each others’ employees. Prosecutors allege that this kind of agreement prohibits competition that affords employees the opportunities to advance their careers and violates the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. The Department of Justice has likened non-solicitation agreements to price-fixing or bid-rigging.

What’s the defense saying?
Lawyers for DaVita are asking: Are non-solicitation agreements really illegal? They weren’t no-hire agreements, after all. “Has any witness ever stated that the goal of that non-solicitation agreement was to keep DaVita employees at DaVita?” asked DaVita attorney John Walsh. The defense plans to call experts to the stand to testify that salaries and turnover rates were not impacted throughout the duration of the agreement.

What’s the projected outcome?
A win for the prosecutors may not come easy, according to John Francis, an instructor of antitrust and healthcare law at the University of Colorado.

“Any agreement that restricts competition among competitors…would normally be viewed as illegal under the Sherman Act,” Francis told Business Den. “The real challenge is that it’s never been viewed as criminally illegal. The prosecutors’ challenge is to get the judge and jury to extend the law of criminal agreements to cover this kind of agreement on employee non-poaching… That could be hard.”

The bigger picture
The outcome of the trial could set a new precedent for how businesses hire talent from one another. If convicted, Thiry could face up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine per count. DaVita could face up to a $100 million fine per count. 

🔎 Want more? Read up on my source material for this story:

  • Landmark criminal trial of DaVita, Kent Thiry starting in Denver court [BusinessDen]
  • Denver trial begins for DaVita and Kent Thiry that could set new business standard [Denver Biz Journal]
  • United States v. DaVita: Preview of groundbreaking white-collar trial in Denver [CO Politics]


“Is it better to try to keep people out of a spot, or to teach them how to use a spot?” — Founder of Blackpackers, Patricia Cameron

Is Colorado’s Outdoors Overcrowded? Or Do We Just Need to Learn How to Camp Better?
It might be a false spring, but can you blame us for letting a little nice weather get us excited for camping season?! Some of us, at least. Host Bree Davies has never been super outdoorsy, and all the gatekeeping around the best spots and the reports of overcrowding at our state and national parks don’t make it seem that appealing. So we invited Blackpackers founder and outdoors educator Patricia Cameron to help make it all feel a little more approachable. 


Listen to podcasts to save America!
Denver, are you worried about our democracy in America? If you read the City Cast newsletter, then you’re most likely a very engaged citizen. Democracy is in danger and needs your help now more than ever. That’s why The Democracy Group has created a community and network of 16 podcasts united around the goal of helping listeners understand what’s broken in our democracy, and how people are working together to fix it. Subscribe to their newsletter for podcast recommendations, deep dives, and information about how to become an engaged citizen in saving our democracy.


📉 Denver’s population is — wait for it — shrinking? According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people living in Denver county has taken a dip. But evidence indicates that the trend downward was primarily prompted by the pandemic: Colorado women put off pregnancy during the pandemic; domestic and international migration fell; and the spike in deaths from COVID offset birth rates. [Westword]

✍️ Abortion access enshrined: Yesterday afternoon, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law that protects Coloradans’ access to abortion and other reproductive care — even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Colorado is among 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, to codify abortion rights into law. [Denver Post]

🏆 Local teen competes for indoor skydiving world cup: This week, 15-year-old professional indoor skydiver Sydney Kennett from Parker will head to Belgium to compete in the 2022 Indoor Skydiving World Cup. Kennett has been practicing under the guidance of her skydiver father since she was four years old. This will be her second time participating in the world cup. In 2019, at 12 years old, she took home third place. [CO Sun


ALL WEEK: Get ready for Opening Day
The biggest day in baseball is finally back to kick off the 2022 MLB season. Denver’s National Ballpark Museum is back open with new and improved exhibits to get you in the ballgame spirit. It comes just in time for the Rockies’ home opener this Friday when they will face off against the LA Dodgers.

👠 ALL WEEK: Get the 411 on Denver fashion
303 Magazine’s Denver Fashion Week Spring 2022 is jam-packed with runway shows, local designers, sustainable fashion, and more. Find the full event lineup here.

🍺 TOMORROW: Colorado Pint Day
Raise a pint at Fiction Beer Company to raise funds for the Colorado Brewers Guild. Only $2 extra allows you to take home a gorgeous Colorado Pint Day glass. 

🎶 THURSDAY: Welcome back Ophelia’s
After a long pandemic-hiatus, Denver’s darling historic brothel building turned music venue and restaurant, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, is finally reopening. The first show back on stage will be a live synth performance by Aron Magner from Disco Biscuits.

🎉 THURSDAY + FRIDAY: Holiday Theater opening party
The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is celebrating its new long-term lease of the historic Holiday Theater in Denver’s Northside with two opening night parties. Thursday evening will include performances from local talent, including Grupo Tlaloc Danza Azteca, Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and more. On Friday, the theater will host Chicano Batman and, our own City Cast Denver favorite, Los Mocochetes.

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