Orthopedic medical device giant Stryker (NYSE:SYK) has found itself in the midst of a rather unusual lawsuit, defending itself against allegations that it violated the law when it showered more than 8,000 unique fax numbers with promotional materials for its seminars.
Stryker is hoping to contain the lawsuit, asking a Michigan judge to deny class certification on the grounds it’s little more than an attempt to cull money at the expense of physicians it purports to represent, Law360.com reported.
The lawsuit, filed in July 2012 by Physicians Healthsource of Cincinnati, claims that Stryker violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by barraging a fax-mailing list of members of the American Medical Assn. Stryker allegedly issued more than 15,000 faxes that failed to contain opt-out information for recipients.
"That a plaintiff may pursue relief on a classwide basis does not mean that class members’ interests are aligned with those of class representatives or are served by class litigation," Stryker’s representatives said in a legal brief, adding that the plaintiff, Physicians Healthsource, has "usurped the professional interests of PCPs in receiving notice of medical education seminars provided through the AMA’s Physician Masterfile, to advance its personal goal of profit."
Even if the faxes were unwelcome, Stryker added, the allegations brought by Physicians Healthsource "smack of gamesmanship, not fiduciary obligation or the ‘vigorous pursuit’ of class interests."
The medical device maker had tried, unsuccessfully, to dismiss the complaint but the court decided to investigate further to determine whether Stryker’s messages were advertisements or purely educational material, Law360.com reported.