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.
Update: This lawsuit resulted in an injunction barring Dr. Stilianos Efstratiadis from providing cardiology services or treatment within 40 miles of the Mercy Clinic until Nov. 13, 2022.
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