Judge Don Jarvis, sitting in the 199th District Court in McKinney, issued the ruling in Steven Hebert M.D. v. AmeriPath Inc., No. 199-03680-2009.
AmeriPath Inc., which is owned by New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), was ordered to compensate Dr. Steven Hebert after the court found that AmeriPath’s non-competition agreement with Dr. Hebert actually was entered on behalf of a corporate entity that was never legally established. The court further found that AmeriPath tried to enforce the agreement while knowing that it did not apply to Dr. Hebert’s work at the HCA-affiliated Medical Center of McKinney.
Dr. Hebert’s lawsuit against AmeriPath and one of its subsidiaries for defamation, tortious interference, and negligent misrepresentation will continue, although no trial date has been set. Judge Jarvis previously dismissed all of AmeriPath’s claims against Dr. Hebert arising from his resignation from AmeriPath and his continued work at the McKinney hospital.
“All that Dr. Hebert has ever wanted is to continue to serve the medical staff and patients of the Medical Center of McKinney,” says attorney Stephen Fink of the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight LLP, lead counsel for the doctor. “He is gratified that the court’s decision allows him to do that, as well as compensate him for some of the costs of the extended legal proceedings. He is eager to get his career back on track.”
The dispute stems from an employment relationship between Dr. Hebert and AmeriPath that began in 1998. For several years, AmeriPath provided pathology services under a contract with the Medical Center of McKinney, where Dr. Hebert ultimately became Medical Director of Pathology Services. Quest acquired AmeriPath in the summer of 2007. After becoming dissatisfied with AmeriPath’s direction under Quest’s ownership, Dr. Hebert resigned from the company in August of 2009. When AmeriPath challenged his right to continue working at the hospital, Dr. Hebert asked the court to intervene. AmeriPath twice sought court orders preventing Dr. Hebert from working at the hospital, but the court refused both times.
“A year into the case we discovered that AmeriPath had given Dr. Hebert employment agreements to sign with a company that never existed,” says Mr. Fink. “The Court concluded that meant Dr. Hebert did not have a non-competition agreement at all with AmeriPath. It’s extraordinary that Dr. Hebert had to be the one to tell a company the size of Quest that many of AmeriPath’s supposed employment agreements with physicians in North Texas were unenforceable. It’s even more extraordinary that, after learning that fact, AmeriPath re-doubled its efforts to prevent Dr. Hebert from working at the hospital.”
For more information on the court ruling, please contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.