Appeals court splits Stryker-DePuy poaching beef

A federal appeals court yesterday split up a sales rep poaching dispute between Stryker (NYSE:SYK) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, sending some claims to a California district court and others to the federal court in New Jersey.

Stryker’s Howmedica unit in June 2014 accused DePuy and a distributor of gutting its presence in the northern California orthopedic reconstructive surgery market with a “calculated and deliberate raiding” of its sales force there, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. The suit alleged that DePuy helped a quintet of Stryker Howmedica sales reps – Brett Sarkisian, Keegan Freeman, Michael Nordyke, Taylor Smith and Bryan Wyatt – defect and take some of their customers with them.

The defendants won their bid to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for Northern California, but in making that decision the New Jersey court did not consider one California-based defendant’s argument that the Garden State bench lacked jurisdiction. That defendant, DePuy distributor Golden State Orthopaedics, filed a separate suit in Northern California, alleging that the non-compete clauses in Stryker’s employment agreements violated California law; that case was stayed after Stryker appealed to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, citing a Supreme Court decision upholding forum-selection contract clauses.

The appeals court yesterday ruled that the claims against the five sales reps proceed in New Jersey, citing the forum-selection clauses in their contracts, but sent the claims involving Golden State to the Northern California court.

By Brad Perriello | MassDevice

Illustration Credit: MassDevice


About Peter Coffaro 818 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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