Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
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UNC and Lieff Cabraser Announce Partial Settlement of “No-Hire” Employee Antitrust Class Action

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Health Care, and Lieff Cabraser jointly announce that U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles has granted preliminary approval to the partial settlement of an antitrust class action lawsuit against Duke University, UNC, and other related parties over an alleged agreement between and among the defendants not to compete for certain of each other’s employees (a “No-Hire” Agreement).

The action was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina on behalf of Dr. Danielle Seaman and a proposed class of similarly-situated employees of the defendants. The defendants are Duke University and Duke University Health System (the Duke Defendants), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, UNC Health Care, and Dr. William L. Roper in his official capacity as Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, Vice-Chancellor of Medical Affairs for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chief Executive Officer of UNC Health Care (the UNC Defendants).

Nature of the Duke/UNC “No-Hire” Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit

Dr. Seaman alleges that the No-Hire Agreement violated state and federal antitrust laws, and resulted in suppressed mobility and compensation for a proposed class of Duke and UNC employees. The Duke Defendants and the UNC Defendants deny the allegations, including the existence of any alleged No-Hire Agreement.

Remedies of the Partial Settlement with the UNC Defendants

The partial settlement implements a variety of measures by the UNC Defendants to ensure that they will not enter into or enforce any unlawful no-hire agreements or similar restraints on competition. The settlement also requires the UNC Defendants to cooperate in providing documents, data and testimony to Dr. Seaman as she continues to pursue her case against the Duke Defendants. No money will be provided to Dr. Seaman or her lawyers as part of this settlement. The settlement includes an explicit denial of any wrongdoing by the UNC Defendants.

The Duke Defendants have not settled; they remain in the case, which is ongoing.

Details on the Settlement Class

The Settlement Class consists of all natural persons employed by the Duke Defendants or the UNC Defendants, in the United States, from January 1, 2012 through August 21, 2017. Excluded from the Class are members of the boards of directors and boards of trustees, boards of governors, and senior administrators of Defendants and their alleged co-conspirators who entered into the alleged agreements, any Defendant’s or Settling Defendant’s legal representatives in connection with this action (including any person affiliated with any law firm representing any Defendant or Settling Defendant in connection with this action), and any and all judges and justices, and chambers’ staff, assigned to hear or adjudicate any aspect of this litigation.

Further information on the settlement is available at www.dukeuncemployeesettlement.com.

Source/Contact:

Dean M. Harvey
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP (Settlement Class Counsel)
275 Battery Street, Suite 2900
San Francisco, CA 94111
Tel. (415) 956-1000