Are non compete clauses valid in Maryland?

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Are non compete clauses valid in Maryland?

I’m currently a therapist at a private practice that services private pay clients
only. I’m contemplating opening my own private practice that will service insured
clients only. However, according to my independent contractor contract, I can not
open or join another practice within a 10 mile radius of any of the current
practices locations Bethesda, Rockville, McLean, VA for a period of 2 years. Is
this enforceable? Or would this be considered unreasonable based on the time,
geographic restrictions and potential impediments to my finances? Thanks

Asked on March 13, 2019 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) Noncompetition agreements are legal and enforceable.
2) A 10-mile radius is likely reasonable, since that appears reasonably related to the distance that someone might drive (or Uber or take mass transit, etc.) for therapy; therefore, it seems reasonably related to the goal of protecting the employer from a former employee's competition.
3) 2 years is likely longer than would be enforced. While every case is judged on its own facts, so generalizing is dangerous, generally, 6 months to 1 year is seen as reasonable for most employees, even professional ones, other than former business owners who agreed to the noncompete as part of selling their business or practice. It is likely that if challenged in court, that a court would cut the time down to one year, possibly less.


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