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Karpinski v. Ingrasci

Court of Appeals of New York
268 N.E.2d 751 (1971)


Facts

Dr. Karpinski (plaintiff), an oral surgeon, hired Dr. Ingrasci (defendant), a recent graduate, to work in an office being opened by Karpinski in Ithaca, New York. The oral surgery practice drew from referrals throughout five counties: Cayuga, Tompkins, Seneca, Cortland, and Ontario. Ingrasci’s three-year employment agreement included a covenant not to compete that barred him from forever practicing dentistry or oral surgery in the counties of Cayuga, Tompkins, Seneca, Cortland, or Ontario unless his employment was terminated and another oral surgeon was hired to replace him. The contract further provided that Ingrasci would owe Karpinski $40,000 if he violated the noncompete. After the term of the contract had run, Ingrasci left Karpinski’s employ. One week later, he opened his own oral surgery practice in Ithaca. Ingrasci received most of the referrals that had previously gone to Karpinski, causing Karpinski to close his Ithaca office. Ninety percent of Ingrasci’s business came from the five counties identified in the covenant not to compete. Karpinski sued to enjoin Ingrasci’s practice and for payment of the $40,000. After a nonjury trial, the court decided in favor of Karpinski and awarded both injunctive and monetary relief. The appellate court reversed on the grounds that the covenant was overbroad. Karpinski appealed.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Fuld, C.J.)

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