While UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University might be in fierce competition, medical school administrators have declared a truce — but one faculty member has called foul.
Dr. Danielle Seaman, assistant professor at Duke School of Medicine, filed a class-action lawsuit this summer against Duke, Duke University Health System and Dr. William Roper, dean of UNC School of Medicine, for violating antitrust laws.
UNC, UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health are included in the complaint as “unnamed co-conspirators,” meaning they are not yet named as defendants in the case. But because of the legal placeholder, additional defendants could be added as the case progresses.
The policy in question in the alleged violation is a no-hire agreement between the deans of Duke and UNC’s medical schools meant to prevent faculty poaching. According to her complaint, Seaman was denied a teaching position at UNC School of Medicine, despite her qualifications.
The suit accuses the medical schools of suppressing healthy competition — curbing wages and damaging the professional outlook of skilled individuals.
“All workers have the right to be paid according to a competitive marketplace for their talent, and that includes faculty members and other skilled medical professionals,” said Dean Harvey, an attorney with Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP, the firm handling Seaman’s case.
The lawsuit — originally filed June 9 and amended Aug. 12 to include Roper — is in the first stage of litigation. If the court decides Seaman’s claim has sufficient factual basis, she could subpoena relevant information from the universities.