Judge Cale J. Bradford of the Indiana Court of Appeals issued the Opinion in the case of Heraeus Medical, LLC, Devin Childers, Robert Kolbe (“Kolbe”), James “Worth” Burns, Paul Cruz, and Kyle Kolbe (collectively “Appellants-Defendants”) versus Zimmer, Inc., d/b/a Zimmer Biomet, and Zimmer US, Inc. (collectively “Appellees-Plaintiffs”). The Appellants-Defendants appealed a preliminary injunction issued by the trial court in which Kolbe was ordered to abide by his non-compete and non-solicitation agreement with Zimmer and Heraeus Medical was ordered to not disclose or use confidential information received from Heraeus GmbH or employ or engage the individual Appellants-Defendants. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the case with further instructions.
Zimmer Surgical, a subsidiary of Zimmer, Inc. entered into a Distribution Agreement with Heraeus Medical GmbH in January 2012 pursuant to which Heraeus Medical GmbH granted to Zimmer Surgical an exclusive license to distribute, promote, market, and sell specific bone cements (“Palacos”) it manufactured. Zimmer has since allegedly developed its own line of bone cement. On January 3, 2018, within the final year of the initial term of the Distribution Agreement, Heraeus Medical GmbH elected to make the Distribution Agreement non-exclusive for the final year. Heraeus Medical GmbH had, by that point, set up a direct sales force through Heraeus Medical, LLC, which had hired several former Zimmer Biomet employees including the individual Appellants-Defendants in this case.
Appellees-Plaintiffs filed their complaint against the Appellants-Defendants on February 23, 2018 for “(1) breach of contract against the individual defendants; (2) tortious interference with contracts against Heraeus; and (3) and tortious interference with business relationships, civil conspiracy, and unfair competition against all defendants.” Preliminary injunctions to stop violations of the individual non-compete and non-solicitation agreements were also sought at that time.