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by J. Matthew Maguire, Jr.

Many Georgia physicians are bound by contractual covenants that seek to restrict their ability to compete (non-compete covenants), to solicit patients or referral sources (non-solicitation covenants), to solicit co-workers (non-recruitment covenants), or to use or disclose confidential information (non-disclosure covenants). Restrictive covenants may appear in physicians’ employment agreements, partnership agreements, medical director contracts, agreements executed upon the sale of a medical practice, and even real estate leases.

Their enforceability will depend in large part upon four factors: (1) the effective date of the agreement containing the covenants; (2) the type of agreement in which they appear; (3) the breadth of the restrictions imposed (time, territory and scope of activities); and (4) for newer covenants, the discretion of a judge.

This article is designed to give physicians (and their advisors) a general appreciation of legal issues associated with physician restrictive covenants in Georgia; it is not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice that considers a physician’s
unique circumstances.

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