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Berlin v. Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center

Supreme Court of Illinois
688 N.E.2d 106 (1997)


Facts

Dr. Richard Berlin, Jr. (plaintiff) entered into a written agreement with Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center (Health Center) (defendant) whereby the nonprofit hospital-corporation would employ Berlin as a practicing physician for a five-year term. The agreement contained a restrictive covenant that prohibited Berlin from providing health services within a 50-mile radius of the Health Center for two years after the end of his employment contract. After Berlin resigned from the Health Center, he began working for a health clinic approximately one mile from the Health Center. The Health Center filed an action seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Berlin from practicing at the clinic. Berlin then filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that the restrictive covenant was unenforceable and filed a supporting motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted Berlin’s summary judgment motion on the basis that the nonprofit hospital was practicing medicine in violation of the corporation practice of medicine doctrine. Thus, the court concluded, Berlin’s entire agreement with the Health Center was unenforceable. The appellate court affirmed, and the Health Center petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to review the matter.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Nickels, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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