The article discusses a particular case in which the plaintiff, a licensed physician, entered into an employment agreement in 2010 which contained a restrictive covenant. The restrictive covenant stated, upon termination, the Physician agreed that for two years (the Protected Period) they shall not (a) engage in the practice of medicine within a restricted area and (b) solicit patients of the District to become private clients.
In July of 2011 the employment agreement was terminated and in December the plaintiff filed a complaint and argued that the “restrictive covenant was clear and unambiguous to the extent it allowed him to compete with the defendant by either practicing within the restricted area or soliciting former patients.” He believed the contract prohibited from engaging in (a) and (b) simultaneously but that he could perform either during the Protected Period.
The trial court ruled in the favor of the defendant. The lower court also concluded that because there were two distinct unambiguous prohibitions, the plaintiff should not have interpreted “and” to mean “or.” While the plaintiff appealed the case, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District, affirmed the lower court’s ruling.