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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
PITTMAN et al. v. HARBIN CLINIC PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION.
HARBIN CLINIC PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION v. PITTMAN.
HARBIN CLINIC PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION v. HERRING.
HERRING et al. v. HARBIN CLINIC PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION.
S93A0675.
S93X0678.
S93A0677.
S93X0679.
PER CURIAM.
Transfer to Court of Appeals. Floyd Superior Court. Before Judge Salmon.
These appeals and cross-appeals have been filed concerning restrictive covenants in employment contracts between physicians and the Harbin Clinic Professional Association. The trial court upheld the restrictive covenants in the contracts of two Harbin Clinic partners and invalidated the restrictive covenants in the employment contracts of the doctors who were not partners. All parties invoke the appellate jurisdiction of this court based on the trial court's grant and denial of injunctions. Because any equitable relief is ancillary to the underlying issue of the construction of the contracts, we transfer these cases to the Court of Appeals.
In Beauchamp v. Knight, 261 Ga. 608 (409 SE2d 208) (1991), we explained that whether an action is an equity case for the purpose of invoking appellate jurisdiction in this court depends on the issue raised on appeal.
Cases in which the grant or denial of [equitable] relief was merely ancillary to underlying issues of law, or would have been a matter of routine once the underlying issues of law were resolved, are not "equity cases."
Id. at 609. The primary question to be answered in each of these cases is whether the trial court properly construed the contracts. Although the parties sought equitable relief, both the orders enjoining the partners from violating their contracts and the orders denying the injunctive relief were secondary to the principal issue of the construction of the contracts -- an issue of law. See id. at 610. Accordingly, these cases are transferred to the Court of Appeals. 1
Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis, C. King Askew, Mark M. J. Webb, for Harbin Clinic Professional Association.
Notes
1  Likewise, fact issues as to the existence of or breach of such a contract would ordinarily lie within the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.* The homicide occurred on July 26, 1990. Philmore was indicted in the September Term 1991 in Glynn County. He was found guilty on October 31, 1991, and was sentenced the same day. His motion for new trial was filed on November 26, 1991, and denied on August 5, 1992. A notice of appeal was filed on August 10, 1992, and the appeal was docketed on October 21, 1992. This appeal was submitted for decision without oral argument on November 20, 1992.
Cook & Palmour, Bobby Lee Cook, Gambrell, Clarke, Anderson & Stolz, Irwin W. Stolz, Jr., Seaton D. Purdom, for Pittman and Herring.
DECIDED APRIL 16, 1993.
Saturday May 23 08:36 EDT


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