Stryker (NYSE:SYK) this week blasted orthopedics rival DJO Global in a poaching lawsuit claiming that DJO and a quintet of ex-sales reps gutted its Indiana sales territory and are looking to lure more of the former Stryker colleagues into leaving.
The lawsuit aims “to stop the targeted raiding of its employees by its direct competitor DJO Global, in concert with several former Stryker employees,” Kalamazoo-Mich.-based Stryker said in the April 25 complaint. The suit alleges that the scheme by DJO and a quintet of former Stryker sales reps – Kywin Supernaw, Brad Bolinger, Justin Davis, Jake Eisterhold, Eric Huebner and Tim Broecker – took a roughly 33% bite out of its ortho & trauma sales in Indiana last year.
“Each of these individuals is now working on DJO’s behalf with the intent of maliciously interfering with Stryker’s longstanding customer relationships and jeopardizing significant revenue,” Stryker alleged.
Stryker claimed that Davis, Eisterhold & Huebner – who put up 33% of SYK’s ortho and trauma sales in the Hoosier State last year – abruptly bolted to DJO in February, reporting to Supernaw, who had already jumped ship in 2011 (taking 2 employees with him to a Smith & Nephew (NYSE:SNN) distributor, the lawsuit alleged).
“Altogether, DJO has targeted, solicited and/or hired at least a dozen Stryker employees, with its recent efforts concentrated in Indiana. DJO’s goal in raiding Stryker’s work force is apparent: to weaken Stryker in strategic areas, and to mislead and then solicit Stryker customers to switch their business to DJO by falsely implying that Stryker is unable to accommodate its customers’ needs. As a result of this scheme, Stryker has already suffered the immediate and long-reaching effects of DJO’s unlawful actions,” the complaint alleged.