Duke and the University of North Carolina are fierce competitors on the basketball court, but when it comes to medical hiring, they have been cozy collaborators, according to a class action that Duke moved to settle Monday for $54.5 million, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The lawsuit, filed in 2015, alleges the rivals agreed not to hire each other’s medical faculty in certain circumstances.
The lead plaintiff, Duke radiology professor Danielle Seaman, contacted UNC about the possibility of becoming a thoracic radiologist there. A UNC official allegedly responded that such a job switch wasn’t possible because Duke and UNC had agreed not to poach each other’s medical faculty for positions that would be a lateral move between the two institutions, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit sought to cover a class of more than 5,000 potentially affected faculty members.
UNC settled the allegations last year in a court-approved deal in which the university agreed not to enter into no-poach deals with other employers. The university also agreed to assist Dr. Seaman in her case against Duke. It didn’t admit wrongdoing.