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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A group of anesthesiologists is suing a North Carolina hospital system after losing a contract.

The Charlotte Observer reported Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants this week sued Atrium Health, formerly Carolinas HealthCare System.

The lawsuit accuses Atrium and a new vendor of stealing Southeast’s trade secrets and using that information to help the vendor obtain the contract.

Southeast has provided anesthesiologist for most of Atrium’s Charlotte-area hospitals. Atrium is giving the work to Scope Anesthesia of North Carolina starting July 1.

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The lawsuit does not say how much the contract it has held for nearly 40 years was worth. Southeast is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

Atrium issued a statement saying the lawsuit is without merit. It said it had been negotiating with Southeast’s parent company for more than 18 months.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com