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12/08/94 MARY L. BISHOP v. LAKELAND ANIMAL HOSPITAL

December 8, 1994

MARY L. BISHOP, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
LAKELAND ANIMAL HOSPITAL, P.C., AND KENT D. TRUCKENBROD, DEFENDANT-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 93-MR-161. Honorable James C. Franz, Judge, Presiding.

Presiding Justice Inglis delivered the opinion of the court: Doyle and Colwell, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Inglis

PRESIDING JUSTICE INGLIS delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff, Mary L. Bishop, appeals the order of the circuit court of McHenry County dismissing counts I and II of her amended complaint. Plaintiff alleges that the trial court improperly determined that an employment contract was not a fixed-term contract and that the noncompetition provision was enforceable. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Plaintiff was employed by defendants, Lakeland Animal Hospital and Kent D. Truckenbrod, as a doctor of veterinary medicine. Her employment commenced in June 1984. On July 1, 1992, plaintiff entered into an employment contract with defendants. The employment contract was to be effective for a term of one year unless otherwise terminated as provided by paragraph 7 of the employment contract.

Paragraph 7 states as follows:

"Either party may terminate employment with or without cause providing the party so desiring to terminate gives the other written notice of such intention at least 60 days prior to the date of such proposed termination. In addition thereto, Employer may terminate employment without notice upon the happening of one of the following events:

(a) Termination of business by the Employer;

(b) Employee leaving the employment without the aforesaid notice;

(c) Failure of the Employee to perform his/her professional duties competently, negligence [sic ] or dishonesty;

(d) Employee being convicted of any serious criminal offense;

(e) Employee engages in an act or acts discreditable to the profession."

The employment contract also contains a noncompetition provision. The provision states as follows:

"The Employee agrees that on the termination of his/her employment with the Employer for any cause, he/she will not directly or indirectly engage in the practice of veterinary medicine or be employed by any individual firm, or corporation to engage in such profession, within fifteen ...


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