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

UNC School of Medicine Agrees to Ban No-Hire Arrangements to Settle Antitrust Lawsuit

Lieff Cabraser represents Duke University School of Medicine instructor Danielle M. Seaman, M.D., in a class action lawsuit against Duke, UNC Med School, and other entities charging that the defendants entered into an express, secret agreement not to hire or attempt to hire certain medical facility faculty and staff that they each employed, reducing or eliminating competition for skilled medical labor. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages and obtain injunctive relief, including treble damages, for defendants’ alleged violations of federal and North Carolina antitrust law.

After a February 2016 denial of defendants’ motions to dismiss the case on a variety of grounds and denial of a subsequent appeal, on August 25, 2017, Law360 reported that UNC School of Medicine has agreed to ban no-hire agreements in settlement of Dr. Seaman’s antitrust class action lawsuit. “Under the proposed consent decree, which must be approved by the court, the medical school and the UNC Health Care System would be barred from making agreements to refrain from recruiting, hiring or competing for employees.”

As noted in Dr. Seaman’s brief, while the UNC Medical School was not named in her original complaint (which included the school’s dean as an individual), the action was later expanded to name the school as well. The brief further notes, “The settlement is an excellent result” and “provides substantially more relief from the UNC parties than would have been possible even had Dr. Seaman prevailed at trial.” The consent decree “will also require the UNC medical school and health system to assist Seaman in her ongoing lawsuit against Duke’s medical school.”

In addition, Dr. Seaman’s filing requested that the court certify a damages class consisting of “all faculty members, physicians, nurses or other skilled medical employees employed by Duke and UNC from 2012 through the present.”

Learn more about the Duke/UNC “No-Hire” Agreement lawsuit.