Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss Denied in Duke/UNC “No Hire” Agreement Employee Wage Suppression Litigation

Lieff Cabraser represents Danielle M. Seaman, M.D., in a class action lawsuit against Duke University; Duke University Health System; and Dr. William L. Roper, Dean and Vice-Chancellor of Medical Affairs for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and Chief Executive Officer of the University of North Carolina Health Care System. The complaint charges that the defendants entered into an express, secret agreement not to hire each other’s faculty, with the intent and effect of suppressing the mobility and pay of each other’s skilled medical employees.

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages and obtain injunctive relief, including treble damages, for defendants’ alleged violations of federal and North Carolina antitrust laws.

On February 12, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the case on a variety of grounds, including a denial of state action immunity to antitrust liability. The Court rejected Defendants’ argument that they should be exempt from the nation’s antitrust laws because Dr. Roper, an alleged co-conspirator, is an administrator of a state university and health system.

“The Court today confirmed that secret agreements in restraint of trade are not immune from the antitrust laws simply because a co-conspirator is a state employee,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Dean Harvey.

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Lieff Cabraser is at the forefront of innovative and landmark cases promoting fair competition in the marketplace. We assist companies, governments, and consumers affected by anticompetitive conduct, assess market circumstances and determine whether and how to pursue legal action to achieve their goals.

For thirteen years, the National Law Journal has selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs’ law firms in the nation. Best Lawyers and U.S. News have also named Lieff Cabraser as a “Law Firm of the Year” each year the publications have given this award to law firms.

Source/Contact for Media Inquiries Only

Dean M. Harvey
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
(415) 956-1000