The ongoing case of poaching sales reps between DJO and Stryker
DJO Global and a quintet of ex-Stryker (NYSE:SYK) sales reps want federal judge to toss Stryker’s lawsuit claiming that DJO and the reps gutted its Indiana sales territory and are looking to lure more of the former Stryker colleagues into leaving.
The April suit in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey alleged 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 Stryker’s 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 in the complaint, claiming 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 aSmith & 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.
This week DJO and the reps fired back, asking Judge John Michael Vazquez to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.
“Stryker has acknowledged that it has no evidentiary basis to support its claims, and instead relies exclusively on conclusory statements and speculation in an effort to persuade this court to allow it to undertake a misguided search for evidence consistent with its unfounded theories of liability,” DJO and Supernaw claimed. “This court should not countenance Stryker’s improper tactics by allowing it to pursue litigation in the absence of a factual and legal basis for doing so.”
DJO and Supernaw also argued that the case should be transferred to a federal court in Indiana should Vazquez decline to toss the case.