Uintah Basin Medical Center v. Hardy
Utah Court of Appeals
110 P.3d 168 (2005)
Dr. Leo Hardy (defendant) was a board-certified pathologist who entered into an employment agreement with Uintah Basin Medical Center (UMBC) (plaintiff) to provide pathology services as the director of UMBC’s laboratory. Hardy was to receive referrals for laboratory work and a $400 per-month director’s fee in exchange for serving as director and providing related services such as hospital visits. The agreement was to continue until either party provided 90 days’ (or fewer if the parties both agreed) written notice for just cause of termination. The agreement did not define just cause or provide guidance on what constitutes justifiable grounds for termination. The language of the agreement was copied largely from the employment contract of Hardy’s predecessor, so the parties did not negotiate substantially the details of the agreement. About two years after UMBC hired Hardy, it sent him a notice of termination. Then, UMBC brought suit against Hardy, seeking a declaratory judgment that Hardy’s termination was for just cause. Hardy filed a counterclaim against UMBC for breach of contract. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of UMBC, finding that the agreement was unreasonable in duration because Hardy testified that he believed UMBC could terminate the agreement only under very limited circumstances. Hardy appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Jackson, J.)
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