A Medical Device Daily

Synergetics USA (O’Fallon, Missouri) reported today that a U.S. district court has ruled on post-judgment motions filed by defendants Charles Hurst and Michael McGowan, former Synergetics employees.

In December 2005, a judgment in favor of Synergetics was entered in federal court against Hurst and McGowan on all counts after a jury found that they had misappropriated Synergetics’ trade secrets, breached confidentiality agreements, breached their fiduciary duties to Synergetics, and had intentionally interfered with Synergetics’ business relationships. In February 2007, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in all respects, the company said. However, prior to the appellate court decision, Hurst and McGowan filed in the district court a motion to vacate the judgment and a motion seeking sanctions, asserting that Synergetics engaged in improper pre-trial conduct. This week, the court dismissed the defendants’ motion to vacate the judgment, allowing Synergetics to retain its judgment against Hurst and McGowan. The court also awarded Hurst and McGowan $1.17 million in sanctions, which the company intends to offset against the original $2.35 million judgment in the company’s favor against Hurst and McGowan.

“Although we are pleased with the final outcome of this litigation for Synergetics’ shareholders and employees, we are greatly disappointed in the court’s opinion that Synergetics did not conduct itself in pre-trial matters according to the highest legal standards. This was not our intent,” said Gregg Scheller, president/CEO of Synergetics USA. “Synergetics is a medical technology company that relies heavily on its trade secrets for success in the marketplace. Synergetics has and will continue to vigorously defend these trade secrets from those who would misappropriate them. The company will continue to diligently pursue its collection efforts in the judgment against Hurst and McGowan.”

Synergetics USA, resulted from the September 2005 combination of Valley Forge Scientific (Oaks, Pennsylvania) and Synergetics, bringing together their respective capabilities in bipolar electrosurgical generators and design, and manufacture of microsurgical hand instruments.

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