Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Synthes can’t stop a former sales rep from working for an Arthrex distributor in Idaho, a federal judge ruled last week.
DePuy hired Richard “Jake” Williams in June 2015 to rep its orthopedic implants in Boise and had him sign employee secrecy, intellectual property, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements barring him from working for the competition for 18 months after leaving DePuy, according to court documents.
But after his Sept. 11 departure, Williams signed on with Arthrex distributor Steelhead Surgical, prompting DePuy to sue in the U.S. District Court for Idaho for breach of contract and ask Judge Ronald Bush for a preliminary injunction barring Williams from taking the new job.
Williams and DePuy dispute the circumstances of his departure, according to the documents, with Williams claiming he was shown the door after his supervisor and regional manager led him to believe that his job was in jeopardy. But the supervisor and regional manager claimed that his job was not in jeopardy and that nobody said it was.
Although Bush found that DePuy could probably show that Williams violated the employee secrecy agreement, he ruled that the differing accounts of his departure muddy the waters.
Image Credit: Brad Perriello/MassDevice