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Covenant not to Compete in Maryland Maryland

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  • Covenant not to Compete in Maryland Maryland

    I started working as an internal medicine doctor in Baltimore in the fall of 2000. Like other physicians in the practice, I signed a contract that contained writing that contained the following words (exactly from the contract):

    "Each signatory to this agreement hereby convenants and agrees that upon her/his departure from the group practice, s/he shall not, for a period of five years, at any location in the United States, treat any patient that the signatory has treated while a member of the group."

    The thing is, I want to leave the group in Baltimore to work with another group of doctors some forty miles away in Washington DC to be with some of my friends from med school and so I can work part-time rather than what I have now, which is full-time hours. I've not had any problems with my Baltimore employer and have never been disciplined or anything. I simply want to work in Washington DC right away.

    I'm wondering whether this clause can be enforced against me if I leave for the new practice in Washington. Is this type of clause even valid in Maryland? Isn't there some exception to the fact that I'm a doctor and that some of my current patients would be willing to make the 40-mile drive to see me in DC?

    Any help would be very welcome!

  • #2
    I suggest taking the whole agreement to an attorney. This is one site I found about Maryland's laws on NCAs: http://bwg-law.com/employment-laws.html

    "...A physician in a group practice may find themselves unable to practice their profession because of a poorly worded employment contract. A non-compete could force you from the community that you have served for may years....Of course a court of law may or may not uphold the agreement. When seeking to enforce these covenants, the employer must prove to the court that the agreement is reasonably intended for the protection of a legitimate business interest of the company. Examples are trade secrets, valuable confidential business information, substantial relationships with specific existing or prospective customers, customer goodwill associated with an ongoing business, a specific geographic location, or a specific marketing or trade area, and extraordinary or specialized training."

    From what you have posted, this NCA doesn't seem unreasonable. The employer is protecting their legitimate business interests by keeping their clients/patients even if you leave. Personally I think they would have every right to enforce it, but I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. You need to get it reviewed by an attorney in your state.

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    • #3
      I haven't read your agreement but in general, in MD, if you signed it freely and knowingly, the courts are very reluctant to overturn it. Doesn't matter what it is that you signed.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        Doesn't it matter that the CNC is worded such that I can't work ANYWHERE in the USA? Isn't that "unreasonable" (as a non-lawyer, I can only assume here)?

        Wouldn't a court invalidate the entire agreement if they found that the geographic limit of preventing me from working everywhere in America was unreasonable?

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        • #5
          But it's not preventing you from working anywhere in the U.S. It's saying you can't take patients with you.
          I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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          • #6
            Have the agreement reviewed by an attorney as suggested by hr for me.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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