Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

$54.5 Million Settlement Proposed in Duke/UNC “No Poach” Employee Anticompetition Lawsuit

On May 20, 2019, a settlement valued at $54.5 million was filed in the class action lawsuit against Duke University over an alleged illegal employee-poaching agreement with the University of North Carolina. The proposed settlement came on the same day that the U.S. Department of Justice decided to intervene in the suit by filing a motion to intervene seeking to prohibit Duke and UNC from signing “no-poach” employee agreements during the next five years.

In a recently released statement, Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said: “The Antitrust Division will use all of its enforcement and advocacy tools to ensure that labor markets across the economy are free from anticompetitive conduct and that workers receive the benefits of robust competition for their labor.”

“The settlement also sets forth an important and perhaps unprecedented role for the United States Department of Justice to monitor and enforce compliance with the settlement’s injunctive relief provisions,” noted lead plaintiffs’ counsel, Lieff Cabraser partner Dean Harvey, in court papers seeking preliminary approval of the settlement.

About the Duke/UNC “No Poach” Employee Anticompetition 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 certain medical facility faculty and staff that they each employed, reducing or eliminating competition for skilled medical labor. The parties recently announced a preliminary settlement with UNC Med School, leaving the action to continue with respect to Duke University School of Medicine.

The lawsuit sought to recover damages and obtain injunctive relief, including treble damages, for defendants’ alleged violations of federal and North Carolina antitrust law. A partial settlement of the lawsuit with respect to UNC was reached in January of 2018 implementing 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 lawsuit against Duke University was certified as a class action in February 2018, and proceeded onward from that point.

Learn more about the Duke/UNC No-Hire antitrust litigation.

Contact an Employee Rights Attorney at Lieff Cabraser

If you think you may have been injured by an agreement among employers to restrict competition between each other, please click here to send us a message about your potential case or call us toll-free at 1 800 541-7358. We welcome the opportunity to provide you information on your legal rights. We will review your claim for free and with no obligation on your part.