Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s office went to court this week to enforce a non-compete agreement—the same kind of agreement he previously tried to get the state legislature to limit.

Blumenthal’s office filed suit Monday against a University of Connecticut doctor for starting a new job within 10 miles of the UConn Health Center in Farmington in violation of the contract he signed when he took the UConn job.

The new lawsuit alleges that Dr. Eric Silverstein violated the non-compete agreement when he took a job at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford onJan. 4, 2010.

“UConn Health Center was adamant that this action be brought to protect against what it believes would have been likely damages,” Blumenthal said Wednesday in a statement.

A spokesman for the UConn Health Center said non-compete agreements have been included in employment contracts for medical professionals for five or more years to help the public university and medical center compete with private hospitals.

It’s rare for a non-compete clause to be enforced, but it’s also rare for it to be violated, UConn Health Center spokesman Chris DeFranceso said Tuesday.

“I generally oppose non-compete clauses, but UConn believed that its rights under the law must be enforced through this legal action,” said Blumenthal, who participated in settlement negotiations with the doctor.

“While seeking damages for UConn, the action did not impede the doctor from continuing his practice or interrupt medical service to patients,” Blumenthal added. “My office has consistently encouraged the parties to resolve this dispute without undue time, expense, or harm to UConn or the physician.”

In 2006, Blumenthal urged Guardsmark Security, a national security contractor, to allow its security employees stationed at ESPN to accept jobs with the sports network’s new security contractor, Securitas. His effort to get Guardsmark to release its employees was unsuccessful, but he was able to get legislation passed in 2007 which allows certain employees to bring legal action if their employer requires them to sign a certain type of non-compete agreement.

Non-compete agreements are common for high-level executives and technology specialists.

“I commend the Health Center and Dr. Silverstein for resolving this matter cooperatively,” Blumenthal said. “I have personally participated in these discussions and am pleased that the parties appear to have reached a fair compromise to end the litigation that protects the interest of both the Health Center and Dr. Silverstein.”