DaVita and former CEO acquitted in U.S. antitrust charges


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An exterior sign is seen at the DaVita dialysis clinic in Denver on February 16, 2017.REUTERS/Rick Wilkin

(Reuters) – A Denver, Colorado jury acquitted dialysis provider DaVita (NYSE: ) and its former CEO Kent Thiry on Friday of conspiring with competitors not to hire each other’s employees.

The Justice Department in the case alleges that DaVita and Surgical Care Affiliates LLC required senior employees seeking to work for them to notify their current employers that they were seeking employment.

“The jury said this case should not be brought,” Thierry said in a statement. “I want to thank the community that has provided so much support during this difficult time. »

In a statement, DaVita said: “(We) are pleased to put this matter behind us. We remain committed to operating with integrity and upholding the highest legal standards. »

While enforcement has traditionally focused on rewards and innovation in antitrust enforcement, the Biden administration has shifted its focus to focus more on potential illegal transactions to lower wages.

The Justice Department said last year that Friday’s decision follows an alleged anti-poaching agreement between DaVita and Thiry with Surgical Care Affiliates LLC (now part of UnitedHealthcare) between 2012 and 2017 to In preventing every company from courting senior employees.

SCA was charged in early 2021. A trial is scheduled for early next year.

The department also alleges that DaVita entered into agreements with two other companies, Hazel Health Inc and Radiology Partners, not to employ DaVita employees.

A Thiry spokeswoman said the jury convicted the company and its former CEO on all three counts.

Justice Department spokeswoman Wyn Hornbuckle said in a statement he was disappointed by the results but respected the jury’s decision and remained committed to enforcing antitrust laws in the labor market.

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