East Huntingdon veterinarian seeks to prevent former mentor from opening nearby clinic
An East Huntingdon veterinarian is seeking court orders to stop the former owner of her clinic from opening a competing clinic in neighboring Fayette County.
Through attorney Rich Bower of Connellsville, Dr. Laurie A. Joseph of Grace Veterinary Clinic on Tuesday filed the motions for emergency and permanent injunctions in Fayette County civil court.
Bower is scheduled to present the motions to a judge at 9 a.m. Wednesday, an hour before the start of a county zoning board hearing that Joseph wants to be canceled.
The 10 a.m. hearing at the Public Safety Building in Uniontown was requested by Dr. John B. O’Laughlin, who wants a special exception to open a veterinary clinic in an agricultural zone on his 126-acre farm along Eannotti Road in Upper Tyrone.
Joseph, who purchased O’Laughlin’s former clinic on Route 31 near Mt. Pleasant for $750,000 in December, wants O’Laughlin to be barred from opening a new clinic. She contends her sales agreement with him contains a noncompete clause that prohibits O’Laughlin from practicing within 50 miles of his former clinic for five years, according to the injunction requests.
O’Laughlin’s farm is 8.3 miles from Joseph’s East Huntingdon clinic, according to the legal filings.
Citing a Facebook page titled O’Laughlin Veterinary Services, Joseph contends O’Laughlin already is in violation of the noncompete clause. The Facebook page notes O’Laughlin’s clinic is “coming soon” and includes photos of a recent training session he held for police officers and their K-9 partners.
Joseph contends she “will lose substantial business opportunities and profits” if O’Laughlin has a clinic near hers.
O’Laughlin declined comment on the motion. His attorney, Melinda Dellarose of Davis & Davis in Uniontown, could not be reached for comment.
Joseph did not return a phone call and Bower declined comment.
In January, O’Laughlin told the Tribune-Review he retired and sold the clinic he opened more than 20 years ago so he could move to a warmer climate for health reasons. Joseph at that time described O’Laughlin as a mentor who stayed on for two months after the sale and “made the transition go very smoothly.”
The motions seek a judge’s order canceling Wednesday’s zoning hearing, prohibiting O’Laughlin from opening a clinic at his farm and permanently banning him from opening a veterinary clinic within 50 miles of his former practice.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412- 601-2166 or email@example.com.