Jason Cagle, the former chief financial officer of United Surgical Partners International, has sued his former employer in Texas federal court after saying that he was fired for whistleblowing. Cagle alleges that USPI, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, fired him in April of 2019 after he raised concerns on more than one occasion of possible securities law violations.
Cagle joined USPI as their only in-house attorney in 2003. He was promoted to senior vice president of acquisitions in 2010, and was eventually made chief financial officer in 2013.
He first addressed his concerns in November of 2018, when he “acquired a majority stake in USPI after agreeing to grant top company executives and key employees stock options in excess of $500 million,” according Hanna Albarazzi, a reporter for Law360.
Cagle says that he brought his concerns to the USPI CEO, Bill Wilcox, as well as Tenet’s chief financial officer. Although Tenet disclosed the book value of the company’s equity plan in its 10-K report, Cagle said that they failed to disclose the amounts Tenet would have to pay.
Cagle once again raised concerns regarding Tenet’s “lack of transparency” regarding this matter in April 2019. After a meeting with high-level executives in which Cagle confronted Tenet on its financial reporting, Cagle said he was fired.
Although USPI’s board of directors stated that Cagle’s termination was for cause, Cagle said that he was fired “in retaliation for him reporting a Sarbanes-Oxley Act violation,” according to Albarazzi. Cagle is alleging that he was fired for whistleblowing on his company’s financial practices.
Cagle brought an action for breach of contact against USPI and an alternative action for breach of employment agreement. He seeks to recover the value of his equity that USPI forfeited. Cagle also claims he is entitled to be reinstated to his former position as chief financial officer, Albarazzi reported.
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