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A professional practice is a lawful subject of sale, and equity will protect the purchaser against the competition of a seller who has contracted to surrender the good will of his business to the buyer.
The defendant physician, Toon, and the plaintiff partner, Rowe, entered into an agreement whereby the physician agreed to relinquish his business to the partner in consideration for a sum of money. The parties continued for a time occupying the same office and to some extent practicing together. However, after the physician left, the partner found that the physician was still practicing within the municipality. The partner filed an action against the physician. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the partner, enjoining the physician from practicing medicine and surgery. The physician appealed, arguing that that the parties' agreement was a mere agreement by the physician to leave the municipality, and not to purchase the physician's business.
Under the circumstances, did the defendant violate the parties’ agreement?
The court found that the physician voluntarily entered into the contract to sell his business and to refrain from further practice in the municipality. The court determined that the physician violated the contract by continuing to practice in the municipality, even though he had moved. Since the physician breached the contract, the court upheld the trial court's judgment.