This case on behalf of non-medical faculty follows Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP’s successful similar action against Duke on behalf of medical faculty that led to a $54.5 million settlement in 2019
A federal judge in North Carolina on Monday issued an order granting final approval to a settlement in the class action labor/antitrust “no-poach” lawsuit against Duke University on behalf of Lucia Binotti, a Professor at UNC, and a proposed class of non-medical faculty at Duke and UNC, who worked at the universities in the period from 2001 through February 5, 2018.
In May 2020, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed a complaint against Duke University challenging a conspiracy between Duke and the University of North Carolina whereby the two schools agreed not to compete against each other for faculty. The express purpose of this conspiracy was to suppress faculty pay. The complaint alleges a secretive understanding dating at least back to 1974, and which was reaffirmed and policed by senior administrators of both institutions throughout the subsequent decades.
This case follows a prior case Lieff Cabraser successfully litigated with respect to Duke and UNC medical faculty. That case led to a certified class of all doctors of the two schools with an academic appointment, and a settlement of $54.5 million. In the course of discovery in that case, evidence came to light demonstrating that the no-poach conspiracy extended beyond the medical faculty to include all faculty of the two schools. The new case sought to recover damages for the non-medical faculty who were not included in the first case.