A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Nellcor (Pleasanton, California) said Tuesday that it plans to challenge in post-trial motions and, if necessary, appeal a Los Angeles jury's Monday finding of antitrust violations in a case brought by Masimo (Irvine, California), a competing manufacturer of pulse oximeters.

Nellcor said the jury awarded Masimo $140 million in damages, which are automatically tripled under antitrust laws to $420 million, with attorneys' fees also added. However, the company said it will not pay any monetary damages unless there is a final ruling against Nellcor, after all appeals and other steps in the case are complete.

Masimo has claimed that Nellcor's contracts with hospital group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and other contracting practices limited the amount of pulse oximetry sales that it could achieve in the marketplace, but Nellcor maintains that "these contracting practices are widely used in the healthcare industry and the end result is lower pricing for participating hospitals."

Nellcor said that the company's business practices "have always been in full compliance with federal and state antitrust laws." It said that hospitals "seek agreements with Nellcor because of the value and breadth of our product line, the superior performance of our products, and our exceptional attention to customer service. We are confident that we will ultimately prevail when the legal process is complete."

David Sell, president of Nellcor, said, "We are disappointed by the jury's decision [but] ... there will be absolutely no impact on Nellcor's ongoing ability to provide products and services to its customers as a result of this verdict. We will continue to offer customers our broad portfolio of products, coupled with Nellcor's outstanding customer service and support."

Nellcor is part of Mallinckrodt, a Tyco Healthcare company. It has been credited with developing the first commercially viable pulse oximeters, which monitor the oxygen levels in patients' blood.

Akers Biosciences (Thorofare, New Jersey) reported that a default final judgment has been awarded in its favor, by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, against Tundra Management. This case resulted, Akers said, from attempted transfer of company shares by Tundra, those shares to be held as collateral for a loan to the company, some of which shares were sold without the appropriate authorization.

Akers said it has been awarded damages of more than $980,000 as a result of Tundra's breaches and has received the default final judgment for set-off of the damage amount against the loan from Tundra, satisfying the debt under the loan agreements.

Akers manufactures the Biosniffer, a continuous monitoring detector designed to provide real-time information concerning airborne biowarfare agents.