A Medical Device Daily

CarboMedics (Austin, Texas), a company owned by the Sorin Group (Milan, Italy), reported that it has filed suit against ATS Medical (Minneapolis), in which CarboMedics alleges that ATS failed to order valve components as required by a long-term supply agreement.

The suit, which seeks enforcement of the supply agreement on a continuing basis in addition to monetary damages, was filed in the U.S. States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

In 1990, CarboMedics gave ATS Medical a license to intellectual property for a bileaflet heart valve designed by CarboMedics. CarboMedics also agreed to develop the manufacturing processes by which ATS Medical could bring that heart valve to market, according to CarboMedics. In exchange, ATS Medical entered into a long-term supply agreement with CarboMedics whereby ATS Medical is required to purchase about $20 million worth of valve components from CarboMedics between 2007 and 2011.

“We have completed a comprehensive review of the commercial agreements at stake and as a result, feel we have to take this action in order to seek enforcement of the contract,” said Charles Griffin, president of CarboMedics. “We are confident that in this case the court will recognize the serious breach of basic contract rights by ATS.”

ATS Medical also responded to the lawsuit and press release filed by CarboMedics.

“After careful review of the facts and observation of conduct by CarboMedics over a long period of time, ATS Medical has concluded that CarboMedics has rejected, undermined and breached its contractual relationship with ATS Medical,” said Michael Dale, president/CEO of ATS Medical. “CarboMedics’ decision to file suit represents, in our opinion, an attempt by a competitor to strike advantage where none exists.”

Refac Optical Group (Blackwood, New Jersey), which is in the business of retail optics, reported that its subsidiary, OptiCare Eye Health Centers (OEHC; Waterbury, Connecticut), has initiated a suit in the Superior Court in the District of Waterbury, Connecticut, against Dr. Neal Zimmerman. Also joining in the lawsuit is OptiCare, a professional corporation (PC) providing services to OEHC. Zimmerman is a former employee of OptiCare.

The lawsuit alleges that Zimmerman violated certain provisions of his employment agreement with the PC, including its non-competition provisions. The lawsuit also requests a temporary injunction preventing Zimmerman from taking further action in violation of his employment agreement.

Zimmerman has filed a complaint in the same court against the company, OEHC, another company subsidiary, the P.C. and Dr. Dean Yimoyines, a director of the company, alleging, among other things, that the defendants have engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, conversion, theft, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair trade practices, all in breach of Zimmerman’s employment agreement, constituting constructive discharge.

In his lawsuit, Zimmerman requests damages and other relief and has also requested a temporary injunction against the defendants to prevent them from seeking to enforce the non-competition provisions in his employment agreement.

Refac said it believes Zimmerman’s complaint was filed directly in response to the lawsuit filed against him. The company, its defendant subsidiaries and Yimoyines believe that they have meritorious defenses to Zimmerman’s lawsuit.