- Mayo Clinic reached a settlement agreement on Wednesday with Franklin R. Cockerill III, MD, the former CEO of Mayo Medical Labs, and will permanently withdraw its lawsuit against him.
- The Rochester, MN-based Mayo Clinic sued Cockerill in October, one month after his retirement, accusing him of misappropriating trade secrets and breaching his contract. Promptly after retiring, Cockerill started a position at Madison, NJ-based Quest Diagnostics, a competitor to Mayo Clinic.
- Under terms of the settlement, Cockerill will not work or consult with large Mayo competitors for two years. He'll also return all confidential information and reimburse Mayo Clinic for some of its legal expenses.
The suit alleges that Cockerill accepted the Quest offer in June and "misled coworkers to believe he was retiring in September to help with his elderly mother's fertilizer business," according to reports. However, Cockerill says he did nothing wrong, and that he was offered the opportunity at Quest long after he made the decision to retireThat said, how to respond to being blackmailed by criminals probably wasn't in the hospital's breach protocol. According to Cockerill, he didn't tell Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, MD about the new position for fear he would lose his retirement offer, the Post-Bulletin reported.
"I left my employment at Mayo reluctantly and only due to the convergence of several factors that arose as I enter the last stages of my professional career," he wrote in the affidavit filing. "Finally ... my decision to change employment was also influenced by my belief that the environment at Mayo had negatively changed over the past five years. Staff satisfaction has declined, burnout has significantly increased, and many people have grown afraid to speak up and voice their opinions."