What approach should you take?

Taking a different approach, two Florida courts have taken a relation­ship-centric approach to analyzing whether goodwill exists , essentially equating goodwill with customer rela­tionships. For instance, in Litwinczuk u. Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic, L.C., 939 So. 2d 268, 272-73 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008), the Fourth District Court of Appeal placed a heavy emphasis on the existence of patient relationships in concluding that patient goodwill existed in St. Pete Beach Family Law. Likewise, with Pinellas Park Family Law the reasoning in Torregrosa can be read as establishing that the mere existence of patient rela­tionships undergirded the conclusion that goodwill had been established. However, these cases do not shed any light on what customer relations rise to the level of being protectable or what facts are pertinent to such an inquiry under the goodwill interest. The lack of emphasis on the nature of the relation­ships especially in family law suggests that the mere fact of a relationship is sufficient.

Reconciling these child custody decisions, it seems the goodwill business interest may be established either by demonstrating that “substantial” investments were made by the business seeking to en­force the covenant or by demonstrating the existence of customer relation­ships. That said, Florida personal injury courts have not expressly ruled that these are the only relevant approaches in analyzing whether goodwill exists.