Judge OKs Duke University paying $54M in hiring lawsuit

A federal judge is closing a lawsuit that Duke University is settling over claims that it and nearby University of North Carolina conspired to hold down salaries of thousands of medical workers by not hiring staff away from each other

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A federal judge is closing a lawsuit that Duke University is settling over claims that it and nearby University of North Carolina conspired to hold down salaries of thousands of medical workers by not hiring staff away from each other.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles on Tuesday finalized the deal in which the Durham university will divide more than $50 million among current and former employees. Their payouts will average around $6,000 depending on salary and how long they worked at Duke or UNC's Chapel Hill campus.

Lawyers for the former Duke radiology professor who filed the class-action lawsuit are projected to be paid more than $3 million.

UNC was dropped as a defendant last year because the public institution could invoke constitutional limits on federal lawsuits against states.