Tensions are mounting between Welltower (NYSE: HCN) and its former chief investment officer, Scott Brinker.
The Toledo, Ohio-based health care real estate investment trust (REIT) filed an amended complaint against Brinker on July 7, alleging he committed a variety of wrongdoings after leaving the company in January 2017. The complaint also painted industry rival HCP Inc. (NYSE: HCP), which announced on May 15 that Brinker will serve as its new CIO beginning next year, as a knowing co-conspirator that was working with Brinker to bring harm to Welltower.
Now, according to a new document filed by Brinker and his attorneys on July 19, Brinker is arguing that he never once violated his separation agreement with Welltower, despite the REIT’s claims, and that Welltower CEO Thomas DeRosa has disparaged Brinker to many people, including equity analysts, within the industry.
What’s more, Welltower’s “true motivation for this litigation” is not to “vindicate any legitimate legal or business interests,” but “to tarnish Brinker and his reputation” and “render him damaged goods in this tight-knit industry,” the document alleges.
Neither Welltower nor HCP had responded to Senior Housing News’ request for comment as of press time.
Separation agreement disagreement
In the newly filed document, Brinker takes issue with the idea that he violated his separation agreement with Welltower. It also states that he currently “is not employed by HCP, Inc. in any way, shape or form.”
The separation agreement allowed for Brinker to look for and secure future employment via interviews or other means, the document says.
Additionally, Brinker hit back against Welltower’s claims that he has used or disclosed Welltower information—confidential or otherwise— since leaving the REIT.
“Welltower alleges that two emails Brinker sent to his personal email account while employed with the company so that he could work from home constitute trade secret misappropriation,” the document says. “This is untrue. Neither email contains confidential information.”
Plus, Welltower allegedly didn’t ask Brinker to delete these two emails—even though it knew he had sent them—until he asked Welltower what the company wished for him to do with the emails.
The document also refutes Welltower’s claims related to Brinker’s storage of documents on his personal iCloud account.
“As for the supposed ‘treasure trove’ of Welltower documents on Brinker’s iCloud account, that allegation is even more laughable and, far from showing a violation by Brinker of his confidentiality obligations, only demonstrates Welltower’s laissez-faire attitude toward mobile device management,” it says.
“No matter how much it tries to dress it up, this lawsuit is a sham,” the document reads. “Welltower’s bad-faith actions are improper and illegal.”
Written by Mary Kate Nelson