Florida Physician Non-Compete Agreement Lawyers
The Firm has extensive experience representing physicians in a broad range of matters related to physician non-compete agreements. Over the past several years, the Firm has represented hundreds of doctors, including emergency medicine practitioners, cardiologists, nephrologists, neonatologists, plastic surgeons, wound care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, dentists and more. The Firm routinely advises physicians on non-compete matters that arise in connection with:
- Medical practice break-ups
- Medical partnership disputes
- Changing medical practices
- Establishing their own practices
The Firm routinely advises physicians on the enforceability of post-employment restrictions and represents physicians in the course of negotiating buyouts of non-compete agreements. If and when litigation arises, the Firm vigorously defends physicians against abusive non-compete agreements.
Florida Non-Compete Law on Physician Non-Compete Agreements
In some jurisdictions, physician non-compete agreements are considered illegal and in violation of public policy. Unfortunately, that is not the law in Florida. In Florida, medical practices and healthcare systems routinely file suit to enforce doctor non-compete agreements. This raises significant questions about doctor-patient relationships and public health. Although Florida law of physician non-compete agreements is not clear cut, one thing is certain: In most instances, physician non-compete agreements in Florida are enforceable to at least some extent.
Beyond this, Florida non-compete law is such that companies have no incentive to use non-compete agreements that are reasonable or limited. In some jurisdictions, courts will deem an overbroad, unreasonable non-compete completely unenforceable and strike the non-compete agreement in its entirety. In other jurisdictions, like Florida, that is not the law. Instead, Florida courts are required to re-write or revise an unreasonable non-compete agreement to make it reasonable. This is referred to as the blue pencil doctrine. As a result, healthcare systems frequently draft non-compete agreements that prevent physicians from working in a large geographical territory. For instance, the non-compete as written will prevent the physician from providing services in any location where the healthcare system as facilities, offices, or affiliates. With increasing consolidation among hospitals and healthcare providers, such restrictions often make it impossible for a physician to work in several counties if not half of the state. Such dramatically broad restrictions are often unenforceable as written.
Determining enforceability of physician non-compete agreements in this context requires both a careful review of the relevant contract as well as a thorough analysis of the relevant facts. Those facts include area of medical specialty, practice locations, admitting privileges, referral sources, and even compensation issues. Ultimately, the legal analysis of physician non-compete agreements in Florida mirrors the standard non-compete analysis. Quite often, the central issues in physician non-compete cases are relationships with patients and referral sources. The Firm has frequently encountered the following situations:
- Physician non-compete agreements that were generally unenforceable because the nature of the practice did not involve long-term, substantial patient relationships.
- Physician non-compete agreements that were unenforceable as written because the geographic scope of the restriction went far beyond the area in which the physician practiced medicine.
- Physician non-compete agreements that were likely unenforceable as a result of the practice’s prior breach regarding payment of certain compensation.
- Partnership and/or practice breakups where misconduct by the practice and/or other partners potentially rendered the non-compete unenforceable.
- Practices, partners and healthcare systems defaming a physician who has exited the practice, giving rise to significant claims that can be leveraged to extinguish the non-compete agreement.
- Practices, partners and healthcare systems that are willing to accept a buyout of some or all of the post-employment restrictions.
- Termination without cause rendering a physician non-compete restriction unenforceable due to specific termination provisions contained in the employment agreement.
- Substantial claims for unpaid compensation (from several hundred thousand to several million dollars) uncovered and developed in the course of a physician contract analysis.
- Widespread instances of fraud and other misconduct by the practice or healthcare system (e.g. violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, whistleblower retaliation, etc.) uncovered in the course of consulting with physicians on non-compete matters.
As always, the specific options and strategies that may be available to you will hinge on the specific facts of your case. Our Firm can assist you not only in evaluating your physician non-compete agreement, but also in evaluating related issues such as wrongful termination, compensation issues, breach of contract, defamation, and more. Although these are separate legal claims and causes of action, these facts often impact the enforceability of the non-compete at issue, provide leverage for the Firm to negotiate a favorable resolution, and – in some limited instances – give rise to significant legal claims that a doctor has against his current or former practice.
Jonathan Pollard – Florida Non-Compete Attorney
The Firm’s founder and principal Jonathan Pollard has extensive experience in complex, high-stakes non-compete disputes. He routinely advises doctors, corporate executives, and other high-level employees on non-compete matters and defends these individuals in non-compete, trade secret and related litigation. Pollard has appeared in the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, FundFire, Law360, Litigation Commentary & Review, Digital Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, PBS News Hour and more. He began his career at the prominent litigation firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner. He earned his J.D. from Georgetown where he was an editor of the law review and his B.A. from Cornell University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. For more information, please call his main office at 954-332-2380.