Colorado Jury Dumps Antitrust Raps vs DaVita, CEO Kent Thiry
A jury in Denver, Colorado, acquitted dialysis provider DaVita and its former CEO Kent Thiry on Friday of charges that they conspired with competitors not to hire each other's employees, Diane Bartz, Mike Scarcella, and Katanga Johnson reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: View of DaVita Inc.'s dual headquarters buildings from the Millennium Bridge in Denver, Colorado
The Justice Department had alleged in the case that both DaVita and Surgical Care Affiliates LLC required senior-level employees who sought to work for them to notify their current employers that they were job-hunting.
"The jury affirmed that this case should never have been brought," Thiry said in a statement. "I want to thank the community that provided so much support through this difficult time."
In a statement, DaVita said: "(We) are grateful to put this matter behind us. We remain committed to operating with integrity and upholding the highest standards of law."
While enforcers have traditionally focused on prices and innovation in enforcing antitrust law, the Biden administration has shifted its emphasis somewhat to put more focus on illegal agreements that might push down wages.
Friday's decision comes after DaVita and Thiry had an alleged anti-poaching agreement with Surgical Care Affiliates LLC, now part of UnitedHealthcare, from 2012 to 2017 that sought to prevent each company from wooing away senior-level employees, the Justice Department said last year.
SCA was charged in early 2021. The trial has been set for early next year.
The department also alleged that DaVita struck agreements with two other companies, Hazel Health Inc and Radiology Partners, to not hire DaVita employees. The jury acquitted the company and its former CEO on all three counts, a spokeswoman for Thiry said.