Employers in the Crosshairs
As discusssed here before, a former employee with an non-compete agreement usually has two choices in terms of challenging a non-compete. The first is to "compete" and then see what the former employer does. This could mean a lawsuit with an application for a temporary restraining order that puts the former employee out of work. The wait-and-see approach essentially removes the employee from any control until the former employer decides to act. This is the most common and cheapest approach.
The second approach is to sue the employer and challenge the validity of the non-compete. The reality is most former employees simply don’t have the money to fund such an endeavor. In a recent lawsuit in the Houston area, a group of doctors filed suit against the Sadler Clinic. Those doctors are challenging the enforceability of a non-compete agreement that prohibits them from practicing medicine within a 22-mile radius of Sadler’s Conroe, Texas location. Interestingly, the employment agreements contain a buyout provision that would relieve the doctors of their non-compete allegations.
This is not the first suit involving a Sadler non-compete. Sadler filed a lawsuit against a departing physician in August 2009. Apparently, the doctors are seeking to intervene or join in this lawsuit since the same non-compete is at issue.