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Seventh Circuit Affirms Trial Court’s Judge That Business Failed to Prove Non-Compete Claims — Our Chicago Non-Compete Lawyers Represent Employers and Employees in Non-Compete Agreement Cases Throughout Illinois

 

Healix and HHI compete in the business of infusion therapy services: administration of substances such as pharmaceuticals intravenously or by any method other than ingestion. Some medical care providers offer these services to patients in their offices. Healix and HHI provide support.

In 2007 Healix recruited the Clinic as a new customer. The Clinic had two members: Keller, a physician, and Porter, a nurse practitioner. Under their five-year contract, Healix would provide services after the Clinic built an in-office pharmacy and hired staff to work there. The Clinic was responsible for the cost of construction. Healix required Keller and Porter to execute personal guarantees and took a security interest in accounts receivable. Four months after signing the contract, the Clinic notified Healix that it would not fulfill its responsibilities.

The Clinic was in breach, but Healix did not sue. One month later, the Clinic entered into a contract with HHI. Healix learned of the new contract and sued HHI for copyright and trademark infringement and for tortious interference with a contract.

The intellectual property claims were dismissed. After a trial, the district judge rejected the tortious-interference claim. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding lack of causation because the evidence indicated that the Clinic would have “walked away” regardless of HHI’s actions.

The Seventh Circuit in addressing the failure to prove fact of damage from the tortious interference held:

In any event, the case can be disposed of on another ground. Keller held a majority membership interest in the Clinic. The district judge assumed that this entitled him to decisionmaking power, and Healix does not dispute this finding. Keller testified that the Clinic would have breached
the Healix contract regardless of HHI’s involvement, be-­‐‑ cause securing financing for the in-­‐‑office pharmacy would have been impossible. The district judge found Keller’s statements to be credible. Healix does not challenge this finding, and it is enough to dispose of Healix’s claim.

You can view the opinion here.


The business litigation attorneys at DiTommaso Lubin Austermuehle represent business owners and professionals regarding non-competition agreements and other claims throughout the Chicagoland area, including Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry and Will Counties; and in the Mid-West region, including Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.