Orthofix allegedly persuaded employees to break their contracts with DePuy Synthes, damaging the latter's ability to conduct business in Texas and Alabama, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 14.
1. DePuy filed a lawsuit alleging its competitor, Orthofix, improperly converted Dothan-based Southeast Alabama Medical Center — which had been a "longtime" Depuy customer "worth millions of dollars" — into an Orthofix client.
2. Orthofix allegedly did so by hiring former DePuy sales consultants Thomas Wells and Michael Sewell and gleaning confidential information from them. Both Mr. Wells and Mr. Sewell had signed noncompete clauses in their contracts.
"It is difficult, if not impossible, to convert business within a large account like SEAMC overnight without customer relationships, goodwill, specialized training and confidential information to do so, which Orthofix lacked about DePuy Synthes' business within this account," the lawsuit states.
3. Orthofix also allegedly recruited Scott Mackey and Miranda Middleton in November 2017, despite knowing they were bound by confidentiality and non-compete contracts with DePuy. Mr. Mackey, who was a sales consultant, and Ms. Middleton, who was an associate sales consultant, are named as defendants in the lawsuit. They both worked with Longview (Texas) Regional Medical Center, a key DePuy client.
4. Mr. Mackey and Ms. Middleton both resigned Dec. 14, 2017, about one month after visiting Orthofix's headquarters with some of DePuy's surgeon customers. DePuy alleged the visit was intended to prepare the DePuy clients to transition their business to Orthofix after Mr. Mackey and Ms. Middleton resigned.
5. DePuy Synthes is seeking compensatory, incidental and consequential damages, as well as compensation for legal costs and interest. DePuy also wants Orthofix to forfeit all gains or profits resulting from interactions with the four former DePuy employees in question.
"As a result of Orthofix's improper and tortious activities, DePuy Synthes is suffering immediate and irreparable harm in the form of lost profits, lost customers, lost customer relationships and other injuries," the lawsuit states.