CNSI attorneys claim judge’s ruling based on secret evidence

Use of ‘secret evidence’ called illegal

Claiming a state judge’s ruling was based on secret evidence, attorneys for CNSI are asking that a six-month stay be lifted in the company’s lawsuit challenging the Jindal administration’s cancellation of its nearly $200 million contract to process Medicaid claims.

“What has transpired in this case is without precedent in Louisiana law,” the attorneys for Maryland-based Client Network Services Inc. claim.

When District Judge Tim Kelley put the civil proceedings in CNSI’s suit on hold July 30, he said in open court that he based his decision on investigative files that state prosecutors provided him for a private review.

Kelley had previously refused in May to halt the civil case at the request of the state Attorney General’s Office, which is conducting a grand jury investigation into the contract selection process.

In documents filed late Friday afternoon asking Kelley to lift the July 30 stay, CNSI’s attorneys contend the judge’s action violated the state and federal constitutions.

“CNSI received no notice of the secret meeting between the State and the Court at which these documents were provided. To this day, CNSI still does not know how the meeting was set, when it occurred, what was discussed, who determined what to bring, or what was provided,” the attorneys claim.

Assistant State Attorney General David Caldwell said Monday the state will file a written response into the court record in the next few days.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration canceled CNSI’s multiyear contract in late March after news broke of a federal probe into the contract. Then-state Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein, who had been a CNSI executive, resigned a week later. In its cancellation notice to CNSI, the state Division of Administration cited improper contact between Greenstein and CNSI officials and employees.

CNSI maintains the firm did nothing wrong to win the state contract and was fulfilling its contractual obligations properly before it was fired. The company wants Kelley to swiftly hear its motion to lift the stay.

“CNSI has suffered serious negative financial consequences since the State terminated its contract. The State’s allegations are being publicly reported ... as if they are absolute, established facts. CNSI has sustained significant damage to its reputation, which has impacted its relationships in other states,” the attorneys contend.

At the July 30 hearing, Kelley scheduled a Dec. 12 status conference to determine whether the stay should remain in effect until Jan. 31 or be lifted.

CNSI started work in 2012 on a lengthy transition from the work being done by Molina Medicaid Solutions Inc. The changeover had not been anticipated until sometime in 2014.