Doctor sued after setting up shop four blocks from former employer

By: - November 24, 2021 4:11 pm

Mercy Medical Services is suing Dr. Stilianos Efstratiadis, alleging he is violating a no-compete contract with the corporation by setting up a new medical office four blocks from where he once worked for Mercy. (Photo from U.S. District Court exhibits)

Mercy Medical Services is suing one of its former physicians, accusing the doctor of poaching both its employees and its patients.

Mercy and its Sioux City hospital, the MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center, allege in a newly filed federal lawsuit that Dr. Stilianos Efstratiadis, a cardiology specialist, signed an employment contract with the corporation in January 2019. Part of that contract stipulated that while working for Mercy, and for 12 months afterward, Efstratiadis was not to compete with Mercy Medical Services and was not to solicit Mercy patients or employees.

The restriction also stipulated that Efstratiadis could not engage in similar work within a 40-mile radius of Mercy without the express written consent of the corporation.

The hospital says it notified Efstratiadis in July that his employment with Mercy was being terminated and that he saw his last Mercy patients on Aug. 31. Before his employment ended, Mercy claims, Efstratiadis secured office space to begin a competing medical practice on Seventh Street in Sioux City, four blocks from where he was practicing at Siouxland Medical Center on Fifth Street in Sioux City.

Mercy alleges Efstratiadis solicited a MercyOne employee to “moonlight” for him and help set up his information-technology system, and hired another MercyOne employee to work in his billing department.

Mercy also alleges Efstratiadis is soliciting patients in Sioux City and has paid for billboards advertising his heart care services and the fact that he is now accepting patients. The billboard allegedly uses the same photo of Efstratiadis that Mercy commissioned and used to advertise his services prior to his termination.

The corporation is seeking an injunction to block Efstratiadis from continuing to practice in Mercy’s service area.

Efstratiadis has yet to file a response to the lawsuit.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

MORE FROM AUTHOR