Class Action on Behalf of Osteopathic Physicians Regarding Membership Fees Paid to the AOA

A group of the nation’s osteopathic doctors sued the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) regarding millions of dollars in annual membership fees that the doctors had for years been forced to pay to the organization. The money was paid as a condition of obtaining and maintaining physicians’ board certification in any advanced medical specialty. The physicians—who filed the suit as a class action—contended that the requirement that they purchase memberships was illegal, had no reasonable connection to the advanced certification and violated the antitrust laws. In July 2018, the parties reached a settlement with the AOA agreeing to end its practice of conditioning AOA board certification on purchasing annual membership. The AOA also agreed to provide a host of other economic benefits to the more than 45,000 class members.

$84M Settlement Approved in American Osteopathic Association Antitrust Class ActionNew Jersey Law Journal, December 4, 2018

Osteopaths, Professional Group $84M Settlement Wins ApprovalBloomberg Law, December 4, 2018 (subscription required)

Physicians, AOA Seek Final OK On Tying-Suit Settlement, Law360, October 9, 2018 (subscription required)

Osteopaths Settle Class Action Against American Osteopathic AssociationNew Jersey Law Journal, July 31, 2018

AOA & its physician members settle class-action lawsuitPhiladelphia Business Journal, July 30, 2018

Osteopathic trade association settles antitrust lawsuit, Reuters, July 30, 2018

Duane Morris Press Release: Settlement of the Osteopathic Physicians Class Action Against the American Osteopathic Association

Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement (July 25, 2018)

Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement (July 24, 2018)

Osteopathic Medicine Antitrust Case Set on Course to NJ Federal Court New Jersey Law Journal, June 14, 2017

Motion to Dismiss - Order (June 12, 2017)

Motion to Dismiss - Opinion(June 12, 2017)

Class Action Complaint: Amended Complaint Filed on October 21, 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

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

Duane Morris Press Release: Osteopathic Physicians Sue to Recover Millions of Dollars in Membership Fees Paid to the AOA to Maintain Their Board Certifications

More coverage, details and other important info will be posted on this page as this develops.  


Wayne Mack

Wayne Mack

+1 215 979 1152

James Greenberg

James Greenberg

+1 856 874 4206

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 Was This Lawsuit About?

As set forth in the Class Action Complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that the American Osteopathic Association (“AOA”) had 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 alleged 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. 

Who Is In The Class?

This action is governed by the procedures for class actions under Rule 23 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure.  When a class is certified, those falling within the definition of the certified class(es) are provided notice of the certification, and given the opportunity to either opt-in or opt-out of the class.

As set forth in the Class Action Complaint, the plaintiffs 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 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.