Judge declines to bar former NuVasive employee from taking clients to Alphatec Spine

Spinal Tech

A Florida judge denied NuVasive's request to bar a former spine sales representative from soliciting customers on behalf of his new employer, Alphatec Spine, Bloomberg Law reports.

NuVasive accused Christopher LeDuff of soliciting its customers and employees for Alphatec Spine — a direct competitor — in violation of common law and noncompete agreements.

Two days after being fired from NuVasive, on Sept. 20, Mr. LeDuff or someone he worked with "provided a hospital within his NuVasive sales territory with pricing for Alphatec's products," NuVasive alleged. "Surgeries in which Alphatec's products will be used are being scheduled even though there is no past history of Alphatec products being used in this hospital."

According to Mr. LeDuff's LinkedIn profile, he joined Alphatec Spine as a managing director in September.

NuVasive filed suit on Sept. 23, seeking damages from Mr. LeDuff and an injunction that would bar him from soliciting NuVasive employees and customers or competing with NuVasive within his sales territory.

The medical devicemaker also sought damages against Gregory Soufleris and Absolute Medical Systems, a company that distributes Alphatec Spine products, for aiding and abetting Mr. LeDuff's alleged contract violations.

Mr. Soufleris, a former NuVasive sales representative who now works for Absolute Medical Systems, allegedly recruited Mr. LeDuff in the summer of 2019 despite knowing about Mr. LeDuff's noncompete and nonsolicitation contracts.

On Nov. 13, Judge Sheri Polster Chappell ruled that NuVasive failed to demonstrate why its noncompete agreement with Mr. LeDuff is necessary to protect business interests and denied the company's request for a preliminary injunction. The parties have until Nov. 26 to appeal.

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