Matthew Savage Aibel

In Acclaim Systems, Inc. v. Infosys, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently rejected a claim for tortious interference with a non-compete, because the plaintiff introduced no evidence of actual knowledge that the individuals in question were covered by non-competes.

Infosys, an IT services company, bid on a job from Time

A recent federal court decision concerning a company sending a cease and desist letter to a competitor (who had hired an individual formerly employed by the company, but then fired the individual as a result of the letter) underscores the difficulty the individual will face in pursuing a claim against the company of tortious interference with business relationship.
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A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a claim of tortious interference asserted by James Nation, an executive whose former employer suspended severance payments contractually owed to him at the behest of the Defendant, American Capital, Ltd. The former employer was experiencing financial difficulties and the Defendant — which was also the former employer’s majority shareholder and primary creditor – directed suspension of the severance payments in order to preserve cash for operations. The Court’s decision relied on the conditional privilege recognized under Illinois law to interfere with contracts, where the defendant acts to protect interests of value greater than or equal to the plaintiff’s contractual rights.
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In Western Blue Print Company, LLC v. Myrna Roberts et al., the Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed a tortious interference verdict against a manager who left to join a competitor, largely because the manager engaged in inappropriate conduct when departing one employer for another. While such tortious interference claims are commonly raised in disputes with former employees who leave to join a competitor, actual determinations of the merits of such claims are not common, and state supreme court parsings of such claims are even less common. Accordingly, this decision is worth reviewing.
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The Florida Second District Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Fiberglass Coatings v. Interstate Chemical, Inc., Case No. 2DO8-1847 (Fla. 2d DCA, February 27, 2009), illustrates an interesting defense to a tortious interference claim. Absent evidence that the new employer induced the former employee to violate his non-compete agreement, merely hiring an employee whom the employer knows to be in violation of a non-compete agreement may not be sufficient to sustain a tortious interference claim under Florida law.
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