BENTON –– A federal judge threw out parts of a business confidentiality dispute involving two physical therapists in a Oct. 2 decision.
Judge J. Phil Gilbert of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois found Zachary Ball and Todd Linebarger of Advanced Physical Therapy LLC did not violate a confidentiality provision in their contract with former employer, Apex Physical Therapy LLC.
However, Gilbert did rule the former employees violated a non-solicitation agreement.
Apex sued Ball and Linebarger in 2017, alleging they violated employment agreements when the former employees left to form another physical therapy company.
Ball and Linebarger filed counter-suits, claiming the employment provisions were too broad and unenforceable. In addition, they pointed out Apex did not have business in the new company's primary area of business.
Gilbert partially agreed, stating the confidentiality provision did not have a "geographic or temporal pillar on which to rest their defense."
But the judge did find the former employees violated the non-solicitation provisions.
"This is a far-flung contrast from the confidentiality provision: the non-solicitation provision is narrowly tailored to prevent former employees -- only within two years of leaving Apex -- from poaching near-permanent relationships that the former employee used in some manner while they worked at Apex," Herndon wrote
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois Case number 3:17-cv-00119-JPG-DGW