Stryker, Synthes settle poaching beef

March 16, 2012 by MassDevice staff

Stryker and Synthes reach a deal to settle a Synthes lawsuit accusing Stryker of poaching a trio of sales reps.

Johnson & Johnson, Synthes

Synthes, the orthopedic surgery specialists Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) paid $21.3 billion for in April, and rival Stryker (NYSE:SYK) agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing Stryker and 3 of its former sales representatives of violating their non-disclosure pacts and stealing trade secrets.

Synthes USA Sales LLC sued Stryker, Michael Russell, Jonathan Sassani and Kristen Phillips-Cheng in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, charging the former sales reps with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and breaking the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

The three sales reps all quit and went to work for Stryker between August and October 2011, according to the lawsuit, which alleged that Russell and Sassani tried to recruit other Synthes reps for Stryker on their way out the door.

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Judge Timothy Savage dismissed the case March 14, "it having been reported that the issues between the parties in this action have been settled," according to court documents.

Synthes claimed to have repeatedly warned Stryker and its new hires of the non-compete and non-disclosure obligations in their contracts. Those provisions allegedly barred them from selling into the northern California hospital market for any companies competing with Synthes, according to the lawsuit.