Covenants not to compete—or non-competition covenants—have engendered a multitude of cases and commentaries. Four decades ago, an often-quoted decision recognized the "vast and vacillating, overlapping and bewildering" sea of authority on the subject. Even more law exists now, and the issues are so diverse that a comprehensive analysis of restrictive covenants may serve little purpose. Recognizing this complexity, several commentators have addressed the subject in limited contexts where replicable rules can be identified more readily and suggestions for improvement carry greater weight. This article analyzes the relevance and validity of covenants not to compete among veterinarians. Because the subject has received significant analysis in the context of physician contracts, this article will address only the particular justifications for, and limitations on, the use of covenants not to compete in veterinary medicine. Although veterinarians are a relatively small proportion of the various medical professionals, a significant number of veterinarians are affected by covenants not to compete. This article first discusses the relevance of non-competition agreements in veterinary medicine and their pervasiveness in the profession. Next, it discusses how the common law has approached covenants not to compete, with greater attention given to the aspects most relevant to veterinary covenants. Third, the article will address the impact of state statutes and federal antitrust legislation on the validity of veterinary covenants. Finally, a brief conclusion will suggest some improvements for dealing with covenants in this area.
Margaret Rosso Grossman and Gregg A. Scoggins,
The Legal Implications of Covenants Not to Compete in Veterinary Contracts,
71 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol71/iss3/5