Pennsylvania physician sues former employer over noncompete clause

A urologist is suing his former employer, Scranton, Pa.-based Commonwealth Health Physician Network, for enforcing a noncompete agreement that limits his ability to practice locally, Medscape Medical News reported Feb. 15. 

Eric Rottenberg, MD, worked for several of the health system's hospital locations from May to November 2023 through a three-year contract. Dr. Rottenberg was a "9-5 practitioner," according to the report, treating only patients assigned to him by Commonwealth Health Systems, so he did not take a patient base with him when he departed the organization, according to court records. 

Dr. Rottenberg submitted a 90-day notice to terminate the employment agreement after becoming frustrated with policies he felt restricted his ability to practice medicine, according to the report. He was then informed that the noncompete clause barring him from working within a 20-mile radius would be enforced for the following two years. 

In December, he was recruited by Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Physician Group, part of Lehigh Valley Health Network, which has facilities within 20 miles of Commonwealth's facilities. 

Dr. Rottenberg and his legal team claim the noncompete is unenforceable without a protectable business interest, according to the report. Commonwealth has refused to release him from the agreement and opted to move forward with litigation. 

Becker's has reached out to Commonwealth Health Physician Network and will update this story if more information becomes available.

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