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Source: Wikimedia Commons and Pui Shan Chan February 2009

Stryker and Zimmer Biomet Settle Poaching Lawsuit

Walter Eisner • Mon, December 11th, 2017

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Stryker Corporation and Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. have been engaged in a sales rep poaching lawsuit in Texas for almost a year. Shortly after Thanksgiving the companies agreed to settle the dispute.

Stryker sued Zimmer Biomet last March in Southern Texas, alleging “concerted and deliberate unfair competition, improper use of Stryker’s confidential and trade secret information, and improper solicitations of Stryker’s customers and employees” in the Houston area.

According to the lawsuit, Stryker claimed that in 2016 Zimmer Biomet lured Andrew Ruggles and Carson Combs, a couple of Stryker reps, to quit at Stryker and set up their own foot & ankle distribution business and go after their old Stryker customers. Stryker said the pair breached their non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

Stryker claims it lost tens of thousands of dollars of business in the last month of 2016 alone, and stood to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of business in 2017 because of Zimmer’s actions.

A couple of months after Stryker filed their suit, Zimmer Biomet asked the judge to dismiss the case. The company said that Stryker's claims were based against Ruggles and Combs, but failed to name them as defendants. In June Stryker responded that no law requires them to name the pair, because it was going after Zimmer Biomet and not them. Stryker accused Zimmer Biomet of improperly using Stryker’s confidential and trade secret information, and soliciting Stryker’s customers and employees.

On November 27, Judge Gray Miller, according to court documents, dismissed the case without prejudice, giving the companies 60 days to finalize the settlement agreements.

“Having been advised that a settlement has been reached between plaintiff and defendant, the court dismisses this case without prejudice to reinstatement of plaintiff’s claims if any party represents to the court within 60 days from the date of this order that the settlement could not be completely documented. The court retains jurisdiction over any settlement agreements,” Miller wrote.

No settlement terms or details were released by the court or companies.

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