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Physician Group Can’t Enforce Noncompete

A Roanoke City Circuit Court says a physician practice group cannot enforce a non-competition covenant against an allergist who left the practice but wants to remain in the area.

The covenant at issue prohibited the doctor from competing with his former practice for two years, within a specified geographic range of identified counties and cities, and also provides that should he be employed by a competitor, he would be prohibited from managing, operating, controlling, participating in, being employed by or being connected in any way with the ownership, management, operation or control of a professional practice that does similar work to the former practice.

The covenant is overbroad  because it is ambiguous and not narrowly tailored to protect only the former practice’s legitimate business interest. It is also overbroad in that it unduly burdens the allergist by curtailing his ability to earn a living in his chosen and highly specialized profession.

The court grants the allergist declaratory judgment that the former practice group’s restrictive covenant is unenforceable and grants him permanent injunctive relief from enforcement of the covenant.

Fame v. Allergy & Immunology PLC (Dorsey) No. CL 15-1099, Dec. 14, 2015; Roanoke City Cir.Ct.; Devon J. Munro for plaintiff; Tommy Joe Williams for defendant. VLW 015-8-142, 9 pp.

VLW 015-8-142

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