Centene Corp Accused of Trying to Thwart Roc Nation's Efforts to Improve Prison Conditions

Attorney Alex Spiro claims Centene Corp. is using subpoenas as a scare tactic.


Image via Getty/Giles Clarke


Team ROC's attorney says Centene Corp. has resorted to using intimidation tactics in their ongoing legal battle.

On Monday, lawyer Alex Spiro filed a motion seeking to quash subpoenas related to a lawsuit against Centene, which has been accused of providing substandard medical care to prison inmates, specifically those at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, aka Parchman. The lawsuit was filed in Delaware Chancery Court at the end of May by Centene shareholder Laura Wood. According to legal documents, the plaintiff has become alarmed by the rising death toll at the correctional facilities, and fears the inadequate medical care will not only hurt inmates, but also Centene's stockholders.

Spiro states that rather than trying to find a solution to improve prisoners' healthcare, Centene is trying "to use the discovery process as a means to thwart [Roc Nation’s] efforts to improve the criminal justice system." About two weeks after Wood's filed the complaint, Centene slapped Roc Nation and Spiro's law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, with subpoenas seeking a wide range of documents including the third-parties' communications with news outlets, public relations firms, other Centene stockholders.

"Through these Subpoenas seeking information unnecessary for and unrelated to the narrow scope of this action, Centene seeks to employ the age-old tactic of intimidation to shield its records from public eye, to avoid any modest improvement to either its corporate governance or the criminal justice system," Spiro wrote, before touching on the worldwide demonstrations against racial injustice. "... In light of protests in recent weeks raising the alarm about the inequitable treatment of people of color and calling for accountability, this Court should reject Centene’s attempt through these Subpoenas."

As of Tuesday, there have been 23 deaths in Parchman and nearly 50 prison deaths across the Mississippi Department of Corrections since Dec. 29, 2019.

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