DENVER | A federal grand jury has indicted Denver-based dialysis firm DaVita Inc. and former chairman and CEO Kent Thiry on charges they conspired with competitors not to hire certain employees, in violation of labor law.
The indictment alleges that both conspired with Illinois-based Surgical Care Affiliates LLC not to hire each other’s senior-level executives between 2012 and 2017, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday. A second count alleges they conspired with another health care company, which the department didn’t identify, to not hire DaVita employees from 2017 to 2019.
The alleged actions deprived workers of free-market opportunities and mobility, Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement.
Karen Crummy, a Thiry spokeswoman, strongly denied the allegations, telling The Colorado Sun that “these companies hired DaVita executives for years, and the companies are not competitors.” Thiry stepped down as DaVita’s chairman in 2020.
SCA has denied similar charges returned by a federal grand jury in January.
The department said that if convicted, DaVita faces a maximum $100 million fine per count and Thiry faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine per count. An initial appearance was set for July 20 in federal court in Denver.