Thompson Coburn recently helped an Illinois community hospital obtain a favorable Illinois appellate court victory in an employment contract dispute with a former employed physician. The case centered on the interpretation of restrictive covenants in the physician’s employment contract.
The suing physician entered into a five-year written physician employment agreement with the hospital, an agreement that was mutually terminated in July 2011. A few months later, the physician sought a declaratory judgment action asking the trial court to interpret the restrictive covenants in a way that would allow him to solicit patients of the hospital or immediately practice medicine within the 25-mile restricted zone set out in the employment agreement. The hospital filed its own motion for summary judgment arguing that the restrictive covenants should be interpreted in their broadest sense. Following oral argument, the trial court granted the hospital’s motion for summary judgment and denied they physician’s motion for summary judgment.
On Jan. 10, the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court unanimously upheld the trial court ruling in favor of the hospital in a written decision.
Business litigation partner Erick VanDorn represented the hospital at oral arguments in the trial court and appellate court, with support from Jim Fogle and Milada Goturi of Thompson Coburn’s Health Care group.
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