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Superior Court Resolves Contract Dispute Arising Out of Separated Ophthalmology Practice

Moore v. O'Conner, C.A. No. 01C-02-103 MJB, 2006 WL 2442027 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 23, 2006). Doctor sued former colleague for money allegedly owed pursuant to agreements the parties entered into upon the separation of their ophthalmology practice. Defendant counterclaimed for various alleged breaches of those same agreements, including (1) plaintiff's alleged misfiling or changing the labels on defendant's patients charts to reflect plaintiff as the treating physician; (2) plaintiff's alleged promise not to operate under the parties' prior trade name; (3) plaintiff's failure to return to defendant any of the amounts he paid to join the practice; (4) plaintiff's failure to list defendant as a Medicare provider; and (5) plaintiff's failure to include an agreed-upon automated telephone message on her office telephone. After trial and post-trial briefing, the court held that defendant was bound by the parties' agreement even though he was not aware of several of the terms at issue, including a provision requiring defendant to pay plaintiff a $30,000 "good will payment." The court also rejected most of defendant's counterclaim, finding no evidence of much of the alleged misconduct. The court did find, however, that plaintiff's failure to include an agreed-upon automated telephone message on her office telephone was a breach of the parties' agreement and that defendant's loss of patients was directly attributable to that breach. The court awarded defendant $128,102 in actual damages on this basis. Share

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