In the United States, our society is built around the premise that we are all entitled to freedom of choice. This includes choices such as who we marry, where we go to school, and what career we devote ours efforts to. For many Americans, few choices are more important than what doctor will provide us with medical care when we are sick or injured. Sometimes, however, this choice may be limited if the doctor we want to be treated by is subject to restrictions imposed by a New York non-compete agreement.
In a courtroom battle, doctors in Chicago have been fighting over whether a non-compete agreement can prevent them from practicing in several area hospitals. The doctors who seek to violate the terms of the agreement argue that it prevents patients from having the ability to seek treatment from their preferred doctor. The physicians further argue that restrictions on where they can practice limit their ability to earn a living.
Under New York law, the following factors are considered when assessing a physician’s non-compete agreement:
- Is the non-compete clause valid?
- Are the restrictions that are being imposed reasonable?
- Does the practice have a legitimate need to protect its business interests, such as customer lists?
- Does the clause unfairly inhibit the doctor’s ability to earn a living?
- Is the clause detrimental and burdensome to the public?
- Are the length of time and the geographic scope surrounding the non-compete clause reasonable?
Therefore, whether a non-compete agreement involving a physician in New York will be enforced, thus limiting a patient’s choice, depends on the court’s assessment of the above factors.
For more information about the enforceability of non-compete clauses, contact an experienced New York non-compete agreement lawyer today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.