Contracts Keyed to Calamari
Karpinski v. Ingrasci
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The Plaintiff, Dr. Karpinski (the "Plaintiff"), was an oral surgeon in solo practice in Auburn, Cayuga County until 1953. In 1953, the Plaintiff sought to expand his practice by cultivating connections in four surrounding counties. In other words, obtaining referrals from dentists. By 1962, 20% of the Plaintiff's practice came from referrals. Because certain patients had a problem traveling to the Plaintiff's office, he decided to open a second office in Ithaca. The Plaintiff hired the Defendant, Dr. Ingrasci (the "Defendant"), to staff the second office. The Defendant signed a three-year employment contract in June 1962. The contract included a non-compete clause which stated that the defendant "promises and covenants that while this agreement is in effect and forever thereafter, he will never practice dentistry and/or Oral Surgery in Cayuga, Cortland, Seneca, Tompkins or Ontario counties except: (a) In association with the [Plaintiff] or (b) If the [Plaintiff] terminates the agreement and employs another oral surgeon". Additionally, the Defendant was required to execute a $40,000 promissory note to the Plaintiff that would be become payable if the Defendant violated the non-compete clause. In February 1968, after negotiations of a new contract failed, the Defendant "left the plaintiff's employ" and opened his own practice in Ithaca. After opening the office, dentists in the area began referring patients to the Defendant instead of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff's Ithaca office closed shortly thereafter. The Plaintiff brought suit alleging that the Defendant violated the non-compete clause. The trial court decided in favor of the Plaintiff and granted him an injunction and $40,000 in damages. The Appellate Division reversed and dismissed the lower courts ruling and found that the non-compete clause was "impermissibly broad."
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