Quest Diagnostics recently filed a lawsuit against Brian Kiesche, a former Quest Diagnostics account sales representative, for downloading a list of New York and New Jersey doctors that detailed the amount of business that Quest did with each doctor. Kieschie apparently downloaded the list shortly before he left the company. The list included customers with the highest volume patients of United Healthcare.

Kiesche resigned from Quest on December 14 and went to work for Laboratory Corporation of America. Quest Diagnostics argues that its ex-employee is using the stolen information to help his new employer to “price products and services at rates designed to undersell Quest Diagnostics” and to “determine which customers to pursue,” based on which are the most profitable and have the largest sales.

Unfortunately for Kiesche, he seems to be caught in the middle of the Battle Royale for UnitedHealth Business between Quest and LapCorp. Had he left a year ago, the fact that he downloaded the lists might have not triggered a lawsuit by his former employer. But because Quest Diagnostics recently lost its contractual business with UnitedHealth to LabCorp, the company is working earnestly to retain its existing business.

Kiesche denies the allegations and says in an affidavit, “although I did download some information,” some of it was already available to the public on the Internet. He denies sharing any of the information with LabCorp. Quest argues that when he joined Quest in 2004, Kiesche signed documents that forbid him to solicit any of the business of a Quest customer for 2 years.

Since the announcement in October 2006 that UnitedHealth had selected LabCorp as its exclusive lab, competitors have regularly raided the sales force of Quest Diagnostics, as many Quest sales reps likely became interested in opportunities with other lab companies. It is believed that Quest Diagnostics has lost a considerable amount of sales talent and knowledge about individual clients, just at a time when such expertise and client relationships would have greatest value to Quest Diagnostics in protecting its existing business.

By suing a former sales rep for violating the terms of his contract, Quest Diagnostics is sending a message to the remainder of its sales force. Sales reps leaving Quest Diagnostics are now on notice that they should carefully review their contract with Quest Diagnostics and make sure that they are not in violation of that employment agreement. Clinical lab sales reps familiar with similar lawsuits are welcome to notify Dark Daily about the details. Just email schristensen@darkdaily.com with information. Also, feel free to forward this e-briefing to others who would find it useful.