Osteopathic Physicians Class Action
Class Action Filed on Behalf of Osteopathic Physicians Seeking to Recover Millions of Dollars in Membership Fees Paid to the AOA
A group of the nation’s osteopathic doctors are suing the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to recover millions of dollars in annual membership fees that the doctors have been forced to pay for years to the organization. The money is paid as a condition of obtaining and maintaining physicians’ board certification in any advanced medical specialty. The physicians—who have filed the suit as a class action—contend that the requirement that they purchase memberships is illegal, has no reasonable connection to the advanced certification and violates the antitrust laws.
Osteopathic Medicine Antitrust Case Set on Course to NJ Federal Court New Jersey Law Journal, June 14, 2017
Doctors file class action lawsuit over osteopathic association’s membership fees Legal Newsline, August 8, 2016
Osteopathic association sued for tying certification to membership Reuters, August 3, 2016
Class-action lawsuit filed against American Osteopathic Association over membership fees Philadelphia Business Journal, August 2, 2016
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine in Certification Dispute Philadelphia Inquirer, August 2, 2016
Motion to Dismiss - Order (June 12, 2017)
Motion to Dismiss - Opinion (June 12, 2017)
More coverage, details on regional informational sessions and other important info will be posted on this page as this develops.
Duane Morris LLP represents the named plaintiffs in the class action captioned Albert Talone, et al., v. American Osteopathic Association, Case No. 1:16-cv-04644-NLH-JS, filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on August 1, 2016.
What Is This Lawsuit About?
As set forth in the Class Action Complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the American Osteopathic Association (“AOA”) has violated the Federal and New Jersey antitrust laws by forcing AOA board certified DOs to purchase annual membership in the AOA in order to avoid the invalidation and cancellation of their AOA board certification.
The plaintiffs also allege that the AOA violated New Jersey’s consumer fraud statute with respect to DOs who had been granted “lifetime” AOA board certification by not disclosing to those DOs that their “lifetime” board certifications would be invalidated and cancelled if the DOs did not purchase annual membership in the AOA.
To date, the AOA has not filed a response to the Class Action Complaint.
Can I Join The Class?
This action is governed by the procedures for class actions under Rule 23 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. At the appropriate time in the proceedings, the plaintiffs will ask the Court to certify a class(es), as defined by the plaintiffs. Once certified, DOs falling within the definition of the certified class(es) will be provided notice of the certification, and will be given the opportunity to either opt-in or opt-out of the class(es). Until then, there is nothing that DOs who want to be a member of the class(es) need to do to preserve their membership therein.
As set forth in the Class Action Complaint, the plaintiffs have proposed that this action be certified as a class action on behalf of a class defined as:
All DOs in the United States whose have obtained board certification from the AOA and who have been required to pay membership dues to the AOA in order to maintain their board certification.
The plaintiffs have also proposed the certification of two sub-classes comprised of (i) all AOA board certified DOs residing in New Jersey who have been required to purchase membership in the AOA in order to maintain their board certification; and (ii) all “lifetime” members of the AOA who were not told their “lifetime” board certification would be invalidated and cancelled if they did not purchase annual membership in the AOA.
How Can I Keep Track Of This Case?
During the course of these proceedings, we will endeavor to update this site with significant public filings in this action, such as the schedules set by the Court and other Court decisions.
It is important to note that any information provided by Duane Morris does not constitute, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or legal representation. Information provided to Duane Morris will not be protected by the attorney-client privilege. Also be advised that Duane Morris represents the named plaintiffs, and therefore has an interest in this litigation.