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A court properly held a non-competition clause in an employment contract to be unreasonable and over-broad

Holding that the noncompetition clause in the plaintiff-employer's employee handbook was unreasonable, the court limited the injunction against "'obtaining employment, either directly or indirectly, from any current or previously contracted client of [plaintiff]'" to a period of 12 months, but did not impose a geographical limitation. Plaintiff sued the defendant-former employee for breach of contract based on noncompetition provisions in its employee handbook and her employment agreement, alleging she violated the terms of the provisions "by performing medical billing out of her home, by contacting and soliciting the business of plaintiff's clients, by performing 'medical billing for one of [p]laintiff's current clients,' by employing one or two former employees of plaintiff, and by inducing others to terminate their employment with plaintiff." The trial court enjoined defendant from "(1) 'engaging in any conduct . . . competitive with a service provided by Plaintiff . . . within 50 miles of Plaintiff's principal place of business . . . for a period of one year' from the entry of the" interim order, and "(2) 'from obtaining employment, either directly or indirectly, from any current or previously contracted client of [plaintiff],' regardless of geographic distance or duration." The court agreed with defendant that the noncompetition provision in the handbook was unreasonable. Plaintiff "does not have an unlimited right to restrict the business choices" of its clients, and "a provision that prohibits a former employee from acquiring employment from a former or current client of plaintiff encompasses an ever-growing number of potential clients and could extend" 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, "or more beyond the contractual relationship between the former or current client and plaintiff. Such a clause is patently unreasonable." Thus, to the extent the handbook "permanently prohibits a former employee from obtaining employment from any current or previously contracted client of plaintiff, that restriction is an unreasonable restraint on trade and unenforceable as written." However, "[b]ecause plaintiff's employment agreement contains a comparable provision that precludes former employees from soliciting plaintiff's clients for a period of 12 months after leaving plaintiff's employment," it was "appropriate to modify the applicable provision here to incorporate a corresponding 12-month period during which defendant is prohibited from obtaining employment from any current or previously contracted client of plaintiff." Affirmed in part, but remanded. 

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