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Donor Network West Seeks Legal Remedies Against Las Vegas-based Organ Procurement Organization for Contractual Interference

RENO, Nev. (Dec. 11, 2023) – Donor Network West, the organ procurement organization (OPO) connecting organ, eye and tissue donors throughout northern Nevada and northern California to recipients in need for more than 40 years, is pursuing legal remedies against Las Vegas-based Nevada Donor Network and Renown Health. In a complaint filed Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, Donor Network West is alleging breach of contract and intentional/tortious interference with contractual relationships against Nevada Donor Network and Nevada Donor Network Foundation.

Donor Network West is the only OPO in northern Nevada designated by the federal government to facilitate organ donations. Headquartered in northern Nevada and northern California, it is the third-largest organ procurement organization in the country. With compassionate services to donor families, and long-standing and proven quality in the recovery, allocations, and transport of donated organs; Donor Network West’s results show the organization ensures life-saving transplants to Nevadans and others in need. Offering decades of experience in Nevada, Donor Network West supports and abides by federal legislation that ensures the ethical recovery and fair distribution of organs for transplants in the United States.  

As stated in the complaint, Donor Network West has been subject to intentional tortious interference by Nevada Donor Network, the Las Vegas-based OPO. In the lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Donor Network West details several claims including but not limited to:

  • Nevada Donor Network offered Renown Health $3 million in seed money for a new organ transplant program, an offer predicated on Renown Health naming Nevada Donor Network as its organ procurement organization. Donor Network West, too, was solicited by Renown to make such a “contribution,” which solicitation was declined. The complaint states that this is in violation of the Anti-Kickback statute 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b).
  • The complaint states that this is in opposition to public policy prohibiting transplantable human organs for money. Consequently, it defies the integrity and values of an OPO. 
  • An OPO must have federal approval to work with a hospital, and only Donor Network West has such approval to work with Renown. For the last several years, Nevada Donor Network has made misrepresentations and engaged in misconduct to create confusion and unrest among Donor Network West and affiliated hospital employees.
  • Nevada Donor Network has made public misrepresentations concerning its status as a federally designated OPO in northern Nevada misleading numerous stakeholders and hospitals—including Renown Health—about Nevada Donor Network’s ability to provide organ donation services in the northern Nevada DSA. 

“Federal law is clear in its intent to ensure that organs are recovered with discretion and sensitivity to the needs of donor families, and that these families are approached by only one designated OPO. This process should not be influenced by political or fiscal motivations,” said Janice Whaley, President and CEO of Donor Network West. “In its own organization’s history, and in its recent actions in northern Nevada, Nevada Donor Network has made clear that money and politics is its motive, instead of serving vulnerable people fighting for a second chance at life. Donor Network West is fighting for the rule of law, and for the rights of Nevadans to have their services provided lawfully, and by the best performing entity. We are concerned by the impact Nevada Donor Network’s actions could have on life-saving organ donation.”

The lawsuit also cites several examples of Nevada Donor Network’s aim to diminish years of Donor Network West’s work establishing trusting relationships with northern Nevada hospitals—like Renown Health—to foster a fully synchronized organ donation and transplant system to serve the maximum transplant recipients. A complete list of claims can be found in the complaint including several examples of how Nevada Donor Network interfered with Donor Network West’s internal staff and operations. 

“The enticements and misrepresentations made by Nevada Donor Network have created chaos in a long-standing system and will have tragic implications if permitted to proceed,” said Whaley. “The system’s rules are created and enacted to provide a transparent, clear, and equitable process to ensure a maximum number of life-saving organs are available for waiting patients, a process that political or fiscal motivations should not influence.” 

Donor Network West considers Renown a partner in helping to save and heal lives in northern Nevada. Donor Network West hopes for a quick resolution to this legal issue and remains committed to working with and serving the people of northern Nevada in support of its life-saving mission, as it has done for the past 40-years.


Media Note
The complete lawsuit, Case # 3:23-cv-00632, filed Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada can be viewed here. While representatives from Donor Network West will not be available for interviews during this active legal matter, media are welcome to send any follow-up questions for a response in writing.

December 11, 2023