Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Duke 'No-Hire' Case

Appeals Court Denies Dismissal of Duke/UNC “No-Hire” Employment Lawsuit

The University of North Carolina Health Care System and Duke University have lost their most recent appeal against a lawsuit alleging the universities’ hiring policies violate federal anti-trust law, reports Law360. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deny review of a lower court decision to allow the lawsuit by a Duke radiologist to go forward, despite the defense’s argument that UNC’s medical dean is an agent of the state and should therefore be immune to legal liability.

Lieff Cabraser represents Duke Radiologist Danielle Seaman, MD, who attempted to make a lateral employment move to UNC and hit an unexpected roadblock. Seaman alleges there is evidence of a behind-the-scenes, no-poaching employment agreement between the institutions, breaking U.S. anti-trust law, including emails from UNC officials showing that the two medical schools have a behind-the-scenes, no-poaching agreement that blocks “lateral hiring” of each other’s faculty.

The article praises Lieff Cabraser as “antitrust specialists, with major trophies to their credit,” citing our firm’s $415 million settlement with Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, and other Silicon Valley tech giants over similar “no-poaching” hiring practices. As in the High Tech Antitrust matter, plaintiff here argues Duke and UNC are suppressing wages by colluding when they should be competing – and not just for medical school professors, but for nurses and other staffers who work with them.

The Seaman case is a class action lawsuit filed against Duke University, Duke University Health System, and Dr. William L. Roper, M.D., M.P.H., in his official capacity as 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 lawsuit seeks to recover damages and obtain injunctive relief for defendants’ alleged violations of federal and North Carolina antitrust law.

Upholding Employee Rights

Lieff Cabraser has a strong tradition of fighting for employee rights across America. Our employment law class action cases challenge (a) discrimination based on employees’ race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability; (b) wage violations, including failure to pay overtime, break time, or vacation time; and (c) misuse of employees’ retirement benefits. We also represent employees who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing by their employers as well as in other cases alleging violations of the law.

Read more on the Seaman case here.