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Labor & Employment — Covenant Not to Compete – Territory – Medical Practice

Kinston Medical Specialists, P.A. v. Bundle (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-15-0431, 9 pp.) (Gregory McGuire, J.) 2015 NCBC 45

Holding: Although defendant Bundle only worked for plaintiff in Onslow County, and although plaintiff only has locations in Onslow and Lenoir Counties, the parties’ covenant not to compete also covers Duplin, Jones and Greene Counties and parts of Wayne County. However, since plaintiff describes itself as a “regional … medical practice engaged in the practice of medicine throughout Eastern North Carolina,” and since the complaint alleges that Bundle had exposure to and interaction with plaintiff’s patients, the covenant’s geographic scope may protect plaintiff’s legitimate business interests.

Defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied.

It is true that the non-solicitation covenant prohibits Bundle from soliciting patients she never treated; however, Bundle concedes that “Plaintiff may be able to plead (and prove) that the level of Ms. Bundle’s interaction with all of its patients would support such a broad covenant.” In addition, the non-solicitation covenant only affects Bundle’s ability to solicit plaintiff’s patients, not her ability to work or even to treat former patients of plaintiff.

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