Florida Oncology Center Wants Noncompete, Antitrust Suit Dismissed
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On April 9, 2019, 21st Century Oncology filed a motion to dismiss a noncompete antitrust suit that a group of oncologists filed against them in a Florida federal court on March 2019. According to their dismissal motion, the physician plaintiffs are overreaching with their claim that 21st Century used unlawful methods to build a monopoly on radiation therapy. The cancer treatment center called their suit a bid to “dress up” simple employment claims as an antitrust case and added that it “strains law and fact.”
Background of the Noncompete Antitrust Suit.
On March 15, 2019, a group of Florida oncologists hit the cancer treatment center with a seven-count complaint in federal court. In the complaint, 21st Century faced allegations that they forced doctors to sign illegal non-compete agreements and held a monopoly over oncology and radiation services in three counties around Fort Myers, Florida. Additionally, The company also allegedly required doctors to sign “onerous” non-compete agreements that have suppressed competition, the suit alleges. To learn more about the antitrust suit, click here.
Visit our website and view the complaint filed by the oncologists.
21st Century Hits Back.
In its motion to dismiss, 21st Century stated, “the oncologists want out of their contracts, but do not want to abide by the reasonable [and] legitimate non-compete provisions.” The company also said the oncologists’ Sherman Act claims are barred by a four-year statute of limitations, which has already run out because the noncompetes were negotiated more than four years ago. According to the motion, the oncologists have failed to show that they’ve suffered an antitrust injury at all, meaning they have no standing to bring those claims
Additionally, 21st Century added that even if the claims had any merit, they should be dismissed because the oncologists “directed and participated in the very purported misconduct at the base of their claims.”
Click here to view 21st Century’s motion to dismiss.
For more information on restrictive covenants, non-compete agreements and employment contracts, click here to read one of my prior blogs and learn how The Health Law Firm can assist you.
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Boysen, Ryan. “21st Century Oncology Blasts Noncompete Antitrust Suit.” Law360. (April 9, 2019). Web.
Gluck, Frank. “21st Century Oncology facing continued legal troubles as it tries to put troubled past behind it.” Fort Myers News Press. (March 29, 2019). Web.
Leonard, Mike. “Cancer Center Fires Back in Radiation Oncology Non-Compete Case.” Bloomberg Law. (April 9, 2019). Web.
Atkins, Dorothy. “Fla. Oncologists Hit Cancer Centers With Antitrust Suit.” Law360. (March 18, 2019). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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