Stryker in 2013 sued a pair of former sales agents, accusing them of scheming to poach reps and business from Stryker in Louisiana and New York (that case is headed to a federal appeals court, after a jury in February 2016 found for Stryker and awarded $745,195 in damages).
Yesterday, in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas, Stryker made similar accusations, alleging a poaching scheme by Zimmer Biomet of “concerted and deliberate unfair competition, improper use of Stryker’s confidential and trade secret information, and improper solicitations of Stryker’s customers and employees” in the Houston area.
Zimmer Biomet allegedly enticed “multiple” Stryker reps to set up a rival foot & ankle business targeting Stryker customers in breach of their non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, according to the lawsuit.
The ex-reps, Andrew Ruggles and Carson Combs, “are now moving the business of those Stryker customers to defendants and utilizing Stryker confidential and trade secret information,” the lawsuit alleged.
Rugglesand Combs quit Stryker in November 2016 and allegedly recruited Combs to follow suit just 4 days later, Stryker alleged.
“Soon after the end of their respective employment at Stryker, Stryker received information that Ruggles and Combs were working together for defendant Biomet South Texas together, using joint efforts to solicit their former Stryker customers in the Houston area,” according to the lawsuit, which also alleges that other former Stryker employees are “participating in the tortious activities of defendants.”
Stryker asked Judge Gray Miller to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring Zimmer Biomet, Ruggles and Combs from further alleged violations, according to court documents.