MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Smith & Nephew plc (NYSE:SNN) slapped nine former employees with a lawsuit accusing them of stealing trade secrets to start a competing company.
The British health product conglomerate’s Memphis-based orthopedics division fired the employees earlier this month after another employee blew the whistle. Now Smith & Nephew wants them to pony up $56 million in damages and to be barred from using anything they learned on the job at SNN.
"We have taken this legal action in order to prevent further attempts to steal intellectual property and to ensure they cannot use Smith & Nephew confidential information for personal benefit. The former employees consisted of eight engineers and an operations manager who worked together on a project at our Brooks Road facility," according a company statement released to the Memphis Daily News. "Despite their attempts, there has been no disruption in service to our physician customers or the patients they serve."
David Mehl, Luke Gibson, Megan Rumery, Andrew Wald, Ashley Deken, Carey Bryant, Kaleigh Ross, Patrick Conway and Bonnie Walker allegedly feared that Smith & Nephew would mine their knowledge of designing custom knee implant instruments, cut them loose and outsource the operation. They sought to preempt such a move by allegedly scheming to stage a mass resignation and start a new company. The alleged plot was uncovered when a fellow product development engineer called a Smith & Nephew vice president and blew the whistle.
Harkin on health care reform de-funding: Not on my watch
Republicans can forget about de-funding health care reform while Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is on the job as the Senate’s top health appropriator.
“I’m well aware that some opponents of health care reform say they intend to use the Labor-HHS appropriations bill as a vehicle for de-funding the Affordable Care Act,” Harkin said during a Senate Appropriations health subcommittee hearing on President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal. “That will not happen.”
Medicare records reveal Oregon doc’s high spine surgery rate
A year-long analysis of Medicare records by the Wall Street Journal revealed a troubling pattern of multiple surgeries performed by an Oregon doctor, whose rate of additional spinal fusion operations was 39 for every 100 of the procedures he performed in 2008 and 2009.
Dr. Vishal James Makker, 41, has been sued eight times in nine years of practice, according to the newspaper, compared with an average of one suit every two years for U.S. neurosurgeons. Makker told the Journal that he hasn’t been sued more than the average neurosurgeon and denied that he ever
In less than nine years of practice, Dr. Makker has been sued by eight patients alleging medical malpractice, court records show, compared with an average for neurosurgeons nationwide of about one suit every two years, according to medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Company.
Dr. Makker says he hasn’t been sued any more frequently than the average neurosurgeon and denied ever performing any unnecessary surgeries.
More conflicts. But now a solution?
Half of those involved in writing recent treatment guidelines for heart patients reported a conflict of interest, such as owning companies’ stocks. But one of the study’s authors thought the most important finding was about the other half of experts who weren’t tainted. That group rebuts the argument that there are not enough experienced experts who are independent, Dr. James Kirkpatrick said.
Heard this one before?
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) recalled another lot of Tylenol due to a musty odor that has already triggered five other recalls of the company’s over-the-counter medicines.
Material from MedCity News was used in this report.