Zimmer can't shake Stryker poaching charges

November 15, 2012 by MassDevice staff

A federal judge rules that Zimmer Holdings must face a jury trial over charges that it ran a deliberate campaign to raid Stryker's sales operations in Las Vegas and Arizona.

Zimmer Holdings

Zimmer (NYSE:ZMH) can't shake a lawsuit filed by Stryker (NYSE:SYK) alleging a scheme to poach sales reps from Stryker's operations in Las Vegas and Arizona, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

Stryker sued Zimmer and a spate of former employees in April 2011, accusing its arch-rival of devising a scheme to "create an instantly successful spine organization, with all of the hard-earned customer relationships and highly trained sales management and employees enjoyed by Stryker Spine," according to court documents.

"Zimmer's scheme is simple. Using the recommendations of former Stryker Spine sales leaders it previously recruited, Zimmer first identified high-potential Stryker employees – who each had strict contractual obligations not to directly or indirectly solicit other Stryker employees to leave their employment – and induced them to breach these contractual obligations by asking them to gauge their co-workers' initial level of interest at an 'opportunity' with Zimmer," according to the documents. "Once these trusted 'ringleaders' planted the bait, Zimmer would make contact with the new Stryker recruits, offering significant salary increases and additional perks to capture the attention of employees who had no prior contact with or interest in working for Zimmer."

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