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October 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

AmeriPath stops two pathologists from competing against Port Chester lab

Two doctors who recently left the AmeriPath pathology lab in Port Chester have been ordered not to compete against their former employer during periods covered by their noncompete agreements.

AmeriPath sued Dr. Paul Chu, former executive managing director of the lab, and Dr. Mark Jacobson, a former managing director, in federal court in March to stop them from opening a practice in Hawthorne.

AmeriPath and the two pathologists negotiated a settlement that was approved on Aug. 1 by federal judge Cathy Seibel.

Chu, of Cross River, may still teach, work with state or federal government agencies or military services, and practice in areas outside of his specialty in dermapathology.

But he may not be involved, directly or indirectly, in any dermapathology practice within 25 miles of AmeriPath’s Port Chester lab through Jan. 31, 2019. He may not solicit anyone who worked for or consulted with AmeriPath during his last year there.

Jacobson, of Pomona, may not solicit, through the end of the year, anyone who worked or consulted for AmeriPath during his last year.

AmeriPath, a Quest Diagnostics company, hired the pathologists in December 2004. Last year, Chu was paid $3.2 million and Jacobson was paid $2.8 million.

Jacobson left on Dec. 28 but was still required, according to AmeriPath, to honor a noncompete agreement.

But Jacobson immediately began planning with Chu to open a competing laboratory, AmeriPath claims, and to use the company’s proprietary information. He allegedly instructed physicians who used AmeriPath services to refer patient tissue samples only to Chu until the new lab opened.

AmeriPath noticed that Chu’s caseload had increased dramatically. In March, the company claims, it learned that Jacobson and Chu had met with a real estate broker about a location for a lab in Hawthorne.

AmeriPath fired Chu for cause and sued the doctors for breach of contract.

Both doctors generally denied the charges in their answers to the complaint. Chu also filed a counterclaim demanding severance payment equal to one year of salary, arguing that he had not violated his employment agreement and had not been preparing to compete against AmeriPath.

AmeriPath was represented by Lyndon M. Tretter of Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP in Manhattan. Chu was represented by Alice K. Jump of Reavis Page Jump LLP in Manhattan, and Jacobson was represented by Michael C. Lasky of Davis & Gilbert LLP in Manhattan.