final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. Tyrie Boyer,
Schwartz, Albert J. Tasker, IV, and Jesse Berryman of The
Schwartz Law Group, P.A., Jacksonville, for Appellant.
S. Gowdy of Creed & Gowdy, P.A., Jacksonville; Michelle
Barnett and Todd A Wright of Alexander Degance Barnett, P.A.,
Jacksonville, for Appellee.
appellant, Dr. Imraan Ansaarie, challenges a temporary
injunction entered by the lower court on behalf of the
appellee, First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, P.A. (FCCI),
that severely restricted his ability to practice medicine in
Putnam County, Florida. We find no error with the temporary
injunction and affirm.
a professional medical practice that provides medical care in
the fields of cardiovascular medicine and sleep disorders.
FCCI operates medical offices in several Florida counties,
including Putnam County. In 2013, FCCI began expending
substantial resources to develop a cardiology practice in
Putnam County, which included marketing, hiring physicians
and support staff, and constructing a large catheterization
laboratory within walking distance of the local hospital,
Putnam County Medical Center (PCMC). PCMC also has its own
catheterization laboratory wherein cardiologists employed by
FCCI, as well as cardiologists who are not employed by FCCI,
can practice. In 2013, FCCI contracted with PCMC to provide
24/7 "STEMI" services at the hospital. FCCI expends
significant resources annually in order to meet its
contractual requirement with PCMC.
furtherance of its efforts in Putnam County, FCCI recruited
Dr. Ansaarie, a well-respected interventional cardiovascular
surgeon, from out-of-state. Dr. Ansaarie entered into a
Physicians Employment Agreement (the Agreement) with FCCI in
April 2014, wherein he agreed to be bound by the terms and
restrictive covenants of the Agreement. The non-competition
provision prohibited Dr. Ansaarie from providing competing
cardiovascular services within a five-mile radius of
FCCI's practice for two years after termination of
employment. The non-solicitation provision prohibited Dr.
Ansaarie from soliciting an FCCI patient, referral source, or
vendor for competing cardiovascular services within the
restricted geographic area and time period.
Ansaarie began his employment with FCCI in September 2014.
FCCI invested in Dr. Ansaarie's success by marketing him
and by providing him with access to FCCI's patients and
referral sources. FCCI also arranged for Dr. Ansaarie to
become the medical director of the PCMC Catheterization
Laboratory, which position he assumed in 2015.
October 2016, while still employed with FCCI, Dr. Ansaarie
filed articles of incorporation with the Florida Department
of State to create his own independent medical practice in
Putnam County. In November 2016, FCCI gave Dr. Ansaarie
notice that his employment would terminate on March 23, 2017.
After termination, Dr. Ansaarie continued to see patients at
his independent medical practice and continued to treat
patients at PCMC. He also continued to serve as director of
the PCMC Catheterization Laboratory.
immediately sought injunctive relief to restrain Dr. Ansaarie
from breaching the restrictive covenants. FCCI alleged that
it had legitimate business interests in its substantial
relationships with specific prospective and/or existing
patients and referral sources as well as legitimate business
interests in the customer and patient goodwill that it had
established in the area. FCCI put forth evidence that its
referral sources had declined since Dr. Ansaarie's
departure and that many existing patients had asked to have
their files transferred to Dr. Ansaarie's practice. The
lower court granted the motion for temporary injunction,
finding FCCI had satisfied all of the elements for temporary
injunctive relief. The lower court found FCCI's asserted
interests were "legitimate business interests," the
restrictive covenants were valid and enforceable, and Dr.
Ansaarie's contravention of these covenants would
irreparably harm FCCI.
order temporarily enjoined Dr. Ansaarie from, among other
things, providing cardiovascular services within the
prohibited five-mile radius, including treating patients at
PCMC; soliciting FCCI's patients, and soliciting
FCCI's referral sources ...