Posts in Non-Solicit Agreements.
Blogs
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As federal administrative agencies wade further into rulemaking and adjudicative efforts to outlaw noncompetes and restrictive covenants, defendants are beginning to raise preemption arguments in response to state court breach of contract claims on the topic.

A recent case shows defendants are taking things into their own hands and not waiting for the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to conclude its announced rulemaking on the subject or for the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to rule on the NLRB General Counsel’s stated position that nearly all noncompetes ...

Blogs
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As we discussed earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in recent years has brought numerous criminal prosecutions against companies accused of engaging in so-called “naked” no-poach agreements, i.e., agreements among competing businesses to restrict hiring or compensation of employees, outside of any legitimate collaborative relationship.  The DOJ’s efforts in this regard were spurred by the issuance in 2016 of Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals, which was a warning issued by the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission ...

Blogs
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For many of us, summer holidays are over, the kids are back in school, and it is a good time to take stock of languishing items on our to-do lists.  For employers that have restrictive covenant agreements with employees in Georgia, one of those to-do items should be to review the employee non-solicitation provisions in their employment agreements.

Earlier this summer, in North American Senior Benefits v. Wimmer, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a decision that likely will make it substantially more challenging for employers to enforce employee non-solicitation provisions.  That ...

Blogs
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As we have previously discussed, the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel is seeking to invalidate noncompete agreements on the untested legal theory that they violate the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB recently fired its latest salvo in those efforts to outlaw noncompetes.

 On September 1, 2023, the Regional Director of Region 9 of the NLRB, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, issued a Consolidated Complaint against Harper Holdings, LLC d/b/a Juvly Aesthetics (the “Company”), alleging that the Company maintains unlawful noncompete provisions in ...

Blogs
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For the last decade, one of the biggest issues in Illinois noncompete law has been what constitutes adequate consideration for a post-employment restrictive covenant, apart from employment lasting at least two years after the agreement was signed.  The “24 month rule” set forth in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 2013 IL App (1st) 120327 has caused much head-scratching, and the Illinois legislature essentially punted on the issue in the recent amendments to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, 820 ILCS 90/1, et seq. (effective as of January 1, 2022).  (Full disclosure: One of the authors of this post advised the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in its negotiations with the State legislature over this law and, hence, can speak from personal experience on the legislative history of this “punt.”)

Blogs
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According to Bloomberg, The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is not expected to vote on the final version of a new rule that would ban noncompete clauses in employment contracts until April 2024. The rule defines a “non-compete clause” as “a contractual term between an employer and a worker that prevents the worker from seeking or accepting employment with a person, or operating a business, after the conclusion of the worker’s employment with the employer.”

As we previously reported, the proposed rule would ban employers from imposing noncompete agreements on their employees. The rule would also require employers to rescind all preexisting noncompete agreements and to notify all employees who had been subject to a noncompete agreement of the recission. Although the proposed rule would not prohibit other kinds of employment restrictions, such as nondisclosure agreements, certain restrictions that are overbroad could be subject to the new rule. For example, a non-disclosure agreement between an employer and an employee that is written so broadly that it effectively precludes the employee from working in the same field would be considered a “de facto” noncompete clause.

Blogs
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A Ruling and Order issued on April 28, 2023 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in United States v. Patel, et al. ran the government’s losing streak to four failed trials seeking to criminally prosecute alleged wage-fixing and no-poach agreements. 

To review, in 2016 the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals that warned of potential criminal prosecution for so-called “naked” no-poach agreements, i.e., agreements among competing businesses to restrict hiring or compensation of employees, untethered to any legitimate collaborative relationship. 

Blogs
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It is no secret that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been largely unsuccessful in the criminal no poach cases it has brought to trial to date. Its most public loss came with the acquittals earlier this year of DaVita, a dialysis company, and certain of its executives in the District of Colorado. DOJ also lost at trial in another high-profile case in the Eastern District of Texas involving a physical therapy staffing company (although it secured a conviction against a company executive for obstruction of justice). But DOJ has pressed on, claiming victories at the motion to dismiss stage. Indeed, following its recent trial losses, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who leads the DOJ’s antitrust division, had this to say:

Blogs
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Our colleagues Peter A. Steinmeyer, Erik W. Weibustand Angel A. Perezattorneys at Epstein Becker Green, co-authored a 2022 Thomson Reuters Practical Law Practice Note titled “Ethical Issues for Attorneys Related to Restrictive Covenants.”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):

Blogs
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We’d like to share an article we wrote recently in Law360: “Illinois Noncompete Reform Balances Employee and Biz Interests.”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois Legislature accomplished something truly remarkable: a comprehensive reform of noncompete and nonsolicit law that was passed unanimously by the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives.

The reform bill is not a complete ban, as some competing bills and employee advocates originally sought. And the bill is certainly not ...

Blogs
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As reported here and here, in December 2019 and January 2020, the United States Department of Justice brought its first criminal charges against employers who entered into “naked” wage fixing agreements and no-poach (e.g., non-solicitation and/or non-hire)  agreements with competitors. According to DOJ’s 2016 Antitrust Guidance for HR Professionals, such agreements are “naked,” and, therefore, illegal per se, because they are “separate from or not reasonably related to a larger legitimate collaboration between competitors.”  Although DOJ recognized that ...

Blogs
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As readers of this blog know, no-poach and wage-fixing agreements are a current hot topic for both civil and criminal enforcement by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

Our colleague, Stuart M. Gerson has authored a helpful summary of recent history and what’s at stake regarding this topic, in an article published in Bloomberg Law: “No-Poaching Agreements, Wage-Fixing & Antitrust Prosecution.”

The following is an excerpt:

Especially in difficult economic times, companies look for stability and predictability. Hence, while intent upon avoiding ...

Blogs
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Last week, the New York State Senate advanced two bills seeking to ban both “no-poach” clauses in franchise agreements and “no-rehire” clauses, which are commonly used in settlement agreements.

The first of these bills, known as the End Employer Collusion Act (Bill S562), prohibits no-poach agreements between franchisors and franchisees.  Such agreements restrict franchisees from soliciting or hiring current or former employees of the franchisor or other franchisees.  The End Employer Collusion Act would also provide a private right of action for any person denied ...

Blogs
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When Massachusetts enacted the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (“MNCA”) in mid-2018, some commentators suggested that the statute reflected an anti-employer tilt in public policy. But, we advised  that sophisticated employers advised by knowledgeable counsel could navigate the restrictions set forth in the MNCA.  As reported here, the May 2019 decision from the District of Massachusetts in Nuvasive Inc. v. Day and Richard, 19-cv-10800 (D. Mass. May 29, 2019) (Nuvasive I) supported our initial reading of the MNCA.   The First Circuit’s April 8, 2020 decision in ...

Blogs
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We encourage our readers to visit Workforce Bulletin, the newest blog from our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green (EBG).

Workforce Bulletin will feature a range of cutting-edge issues—such as sexual harassment, diversity and inclusion, pay equity, artificial intelligence in the workplace, cybersecurity, and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on human resources—that are of concern to employers across all industries. EBG's full announcement is here.

Click here to subscribe for email notifications—you’ll receive a confirmation email to click.

(And if you haven't ...

Blogs
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A recent decision in Edward D. Jones & Co., LP v. John Kerr (S.D.In. 19-cv-03810 Nov. 14, 2019), illustrates the unique challenges that broker-dealers may face when enforcing post-employment covenants that prohibit former registered representatives (“RRs”) from soliciting clients. Edward Jones sued Kerr, a former RR, to enforce an employment contract that required him to return confidential information upon termination and prohibited him from “directly or indirectly” soliciting any Edward Jones’ client for a period of one year.  Although Kerr did not challenge the ...

Blogs
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A recently passed Florida law, Florida Statutes 542.336 seeks to prevent medical providers from using restrictive covenants to monopolize medical specialties in rural counties.  The law bars the enforcement of “restrictive covenants” against physicians who practice “a medical specialty in a county wherein one entity employs or contracts with, either directly or through related or affiliated entities, all physicians who practice such specialty in that county.”  Once a second provider enters the market for a particular specialty in a county, restrictive covenants ...

Blogs
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Our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green have a post on the Financial Services Employment Law blog that will be of interest to our readers: “FINRA Issues New Guidance to Member Firms Regarding Customer Communications When Registered Representatives Depart.”

Following is an excerpt:

On April 5, 2019, FINRA published Regulatory Notice 19-10 (the “Notice”) addressing the responsibilities of member firms when communicating with customers about departing registered representatives.  As the Notice indicates, in the event ...

Blogs
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As we've discussed, the California Court of Appeal in AMN Healthcare, Inc. v. Aya Healthcare Services, Inc., recently ruled that a broadly worded contractual clause that prohibited solicitation of employees for one year after employment was an illegal restraint on trade under California law.

Now, a second court has joined in.

 In Barker v. Insight Global LLC, Case No. 16-cv-07186 (N.D. Cal., Jan. 11, 2019), Judge Freeman, sitting in the Northern District of California, adopted AMN's reasoning and reversed a prior order that dismissed claims that asserted a contractual employee ...

Blogs
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The Illinois Appellate Court recently declined to adopt a bright line rule regarding the enforceability of five year non-competes or three year non-solicits, and instead directed courts to interpret the reasonableness of any such restrictive covenants on a case-by-case basis.

In Pam’s Acad. of Dance/Forte Arts Ctr. v. Marik, 2018 IL App (3d) 170803, the plaintiff dance company sued a former employee for breaching a non-disclosure agreement and restrictive covenant by allegedly opening a dance studio within 25 miles of plaintiff and soliciting students and teachers by means of ...

Blogs
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In its 2008 landmark decision Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP (2008) 44 Cal. 4th 937, the California Supreme Court set forth a broad prohibition against non-compete provisions, but it left open whether or to what extent employee non-solicit provisions were enforceable. Since Edwards, no California appellate court has addressed that issue in a published opinion – until recently. On November 1, the California Court of Appeal in AMN Healthcare, Inc. v. Aya Healthcare Services, Inc., ruled that a broadly worded contractual clause that prohibited solicitation of employees for one ...

Blogs
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States across the country have been using enforcement actions, legislation, and interpretive guidance to limit employers’ ability to enforce restrictive covenants against low wage workers. The recent decision in Butler v. Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC et. al., 18-cv-0133 (S.D. Ill. 2018) suggests this trend may extend to federal antitrust law.

The Butler case relates to the legality of certain restrictive covenants in Jimmy John’s franchise agreements.[1] The Complaint alleges that Jimmy John’s required franchisees to agree not to hire any job applicants who worked ...

Blogs
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Whenever possible, restrictive covenants should be carefully worded to track the language of applicable law in the jurisdiction where they will be enforced. The South Dakota Supreme Court’s recent decision in Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. v. Dolly provides a strong reminder of this lesson.  The case concerned an action by Farm Bureau to enforce a restrictive covenant against Ryan Dolly who had worked for Farm Bureau as a captive life insurance agent. Dolly’s contract with Farm Bureau contained a restrictive covenant providing that Dolly would “neither sell nor solicit ...

Blogs
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On April 3, 2018, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) announced that it had entered into a settlement with two of the world’s largest railroad equipment manufacturers resolving a lawsuit alleging the defendant employers had entered into unlawful “no-poach” agreements.  The DOJ’s Complaint, captioned U.S. v. Knorr-Bremse AG and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp., 18-cv-00747 (D. D.C.) alleges that three employers referred to as Knorr, Wabtec and Faively,[1] unlawfully promised one another “not to solicit, recruit, hire without ...

Blogs
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On October 20, 2016—just about three weeks before the presidential election won by Donald Trump—the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission issued a remarkable document, entitled “Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals,” which outlined an aggressive policy promising to investigate and punish employers, and even individual Human Resources employees, who enter into unlawful agreements concerning recruitment or retention of employees.  As stated in that document, “[a]n agreement among competing employers to limit or fix the terms of ...

Blogs
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Financial analytics firm Novantas, Inc. and two individual defendants closed out 2017 with a victory, securing the dismissal of claims by rival First Manhattan Consulting Group LLC (“First Manhattan Consulting Group”) [1], which accused them of competing unfairly by poaching First Manhattan Consulting Group’s employees in order to steal its trade secrets.  The result demonstrates the need for plaintiffs in such cases to be able to prove with specificity which trade secrets were taken or threatened by the defendants’ conduct.

The Complaint alleged that Novantas engaged ...

Blogs
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Epstein Becker Green attorneys Peter A. Steinmeyer, Robert D. Goldstein, and Brian E. Spang are pleased to be presenting 2017 Year in Review: Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Developments webinar on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. — 2:15 p.m. with Practical Law.

This webinar will provide insights into recent developments and expected trends in the evolving legal landscape of trade secrets and non-competition agreements. This webinar will focus on how to navigate this continually developing area and effectively protect client relationships and proprietary ...

Blogs
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Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued payday loan company Check Into Cash of Illinois, LLC for allegedly requiring that all of its employees in Illinois, regardless of position or pay, sign a standard non-compete agreement which broadly limits their employment mobility for one year post-termination.

According to the Complaint, Check Into Cash’s standard non-compete agreement effectively precludes employment with any entity that offers any “consumer lending service,” regardless of whether the entity is an actual competitor; it applies within ...

Blogs
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Featured on Employment Law This Week - An Illinois appellate court weighs in on social media and solicitation. The case involved a defendant who sent LinkedIn connection requests to three former coworkers, even though he had signed a non-solicit agreement. In considering whether social media activity violates non-solicitation agreements, other courts have drawn a distinction between passive social media activity and more active, direct activity. Though these requests were made directly to the former coworkers, the court in this case ruled that the content constituted ...

Blogs
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In this age of social media, a frequently asked question is whether social media activity can violate a non-compete or non-solicit.   Although the case law is evolving, courts which have addressed the issue have focused on the content of the communication, rather than the medium used to convey it.  In so doing, they have distinguished between mere passive social media activity (e.g., posting an update about a new job) as opposed to more targeted, active actions (e.g., not merely posting about a new job, but also actively recruiting former co-workers or clients).

A “LinkedIn” case ...

Blogs
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The top story on Employment Law This Week: The DOJ intends to investigate anti-competitive trade practices.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission released joint guidance for HR professionals on how antitrust laws apply to employment. The guidance explains that agreements among employers not to recruit certain employees—or not to compete on terms of compensation—are illegal. Notably, the DOJ announced that they plan to criminally investigate “naked no-poaching or wage fixing agreements” that are unrelated to legitimate collaboration between ...

Blogs
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Following up on a string of civil enforcement actions and employee antitrust suits, regarding no-poaching agreements in the technology industry, on October 20, 2016 the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued Antitrust Guidance for Human Resources Professionals (the “Guidance”). The Guidance outlines an aggressive policy to investigate and punish employers, and individual human resources employees who enter into unlawful agreements concerning employee recruitment or retention.

The Guidance focuses on three types of ...

Blogs
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Featured in the top story on Employment Law This Week:  Former employees turned competitors in Pennsylvania are hit with $4.5 million in punitive damages.

An insurance brokerage firm sued a group of employees, claiming that they violated their non-solicitation agreements by luring away employees and clients to launch a new office for a competitor. A lower court awarded the firm nearly $2.4 million in compensatory damages and $4.5 million in punitive damages because of the defendants’ outrageous conduct. On appeal, the appellate court agreed and upheld all damages.

See the ...

Blogs
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Rarely do we see punitive damages being awarded in cases involving the movement of employees and information between firms. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania last week affirmed a punitive damage award granted by a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in such a matter, albeit which also found tort liability against the new employer and the five former employees.

The decision in B.G. Balmer & Co., Inc. v. Frank Crystal & Co. Inc., et al. sets forth a classic example of “bad leavers” and a complicit new employer. Confidential information concerning clients was copied and given to the ...

Blogs
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Restrictive covenant agreements are traditionally governed by state law and thus subject to various jurisdictions’ rules regarding enforceability. They stand on a different footing than most other contracts, in that their enforcement is typically susceptible to a court’s equitable powers, and may not always be enforced as written, if at all. States differ on whether their courts will deny enforcement of a restrictive covenant deemed overbroad as written by the parties or instead modify it to meet the particular state’s standards of enforceability. In those states where ...

Blogs
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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="120"] Barry A. Guryan[/caption]

In a recent case decided by the Massachusetts Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session (which typically handles restrictive covenant cases), Gillette lost its attempt to obtain a broad injunction against a former in-house counsel who became the General Counsel at a competitor, Shavelogic.  In THE GILLETTE COMPANY v. CRAIG PROVOST, ET AL., Civil Action No. 15-0149 BLS 2 (Dec. 22, 2015), the Court found Gillette unlikely to succeed on its claims that  the General Counsel, who left Gillette ten years ...

Blogs
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[caption id="attachment_2072" align="alignright" width="113"] Zachary C. Jackson[/caption]

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana (Hammond Division) recently ruled on cross motions for summary judgment in the case of E.T. Products, LLC v. D.E. Miller Holdings, Inc. (Case No. 2:13cv424-PPS).  The dispute in that case stemmed from the acquisition of a portion of a company.  Essentially, the purchaser claimed that the seller was violating the restrictive covenant prohibiting him from soliciting the purchaser’s customers, and the seller ...

Blogs
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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="122"] Peter A. Steinmeyer[/caption]

In Bridgeview Bank Group v. Meyer, the Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed the denial of a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against an individual who joined a competitor and then, among other things, allegedly violated contractual non-solicitation and confidentiality obligations.

As a threshold matter, the Appellate Court was troubled by what it described as Bridgeview’s “leisurely approach” to seeking injunctive relief.  The Appellate Court noted that Bridgeview filed ...

Blogs
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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="117"] Zachary C. Jackson[/caption]

At the end of January, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut issued a decision in the matter of Roth Staffing Companies, L.P. v. Thomas Brown, OEM ProStaffing, Inc., OEM of CT, Inc., and David Fernandez (Case No. 3:13cv216).  Much of that opinion is devoted to analyzing the parties’ arguments about whether piercing the corporate veil was appropriate under the circumstances.  However, the opinion also addressed the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on its breach of ...

Blogs
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Readers of this blog know that long settled understandings regarding what constitutes adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant in Illinois were turned upside down when the First District Appellate Court in Illinois held in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services Inc., 2013 IL App. (1st) 120327 that, absent other consideration, two years of employment are required for a restrictive covenant to be supported by adequate consideration, regardless of whether the covenant was signed at the outset of employment or after, and regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.

Blogs
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One of the top stories on Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – is about a bad leaver and the hefty price he had to pay.

A former VP of Fortinet, Inc., must pay nearly $1.7 million to the company, after poaching three of his subordinates when he left his job for a competitor. The former VP joked in an email that the employees he took with him were “three bullets to the back of the head” of his former employer. In the arbitration, a former California state judge ruled that the employee had breached his fiduciary duty and his contractual obligations not to ...

Blogs
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A former California State judge in an arbitration awarded nearly $1.7 million to an employer against its former employee based primarily on his acts taken going out the door.  His joking email with a co-worker after recruiting three others, characterizing their resignations as “Three bullets to the back of the head” of his employer, was clearly shooting himself in the foot in the eyes of the arbitrator.  The Award is interesting for many reasons - - the interplay between fiduciary duties and non-solicitation of employees provisions, the allowable damages when such a fiduciary duty ...

Blogs
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In a decision issued in late October, AssuredPartners, Inc. et al. v. William Schmitt, 2015 IL  App. (1st) 141863 (Ill. App. 2015),  the Illinois Appellate Court struck down as overbroad and unreasonable, the noncompete, nonsolicit and confidentiality provisions in an employment agreement.  The Court then refused to judicially modify or “blue pencil” these provisions because the Court deemed their deficiencies “too great to permit modification.”  This decision is essentially a primer on current Illinois law regarding restrictive covenants and confidentiality ...

Blogs
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The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit opened its October 29th opinion in Cardoni v. Prosperity Bank by noting that “[i]n addition to their well-known disagreements over boundaries and football” known as the Red River Rivalry, “Texas and Oklahoma do not see eye to eye on a less prominent issue: covenants not to compete.”   As the Court went on to note, “Texas generally allows them so long as they are limited both geographically and temporally… Oklahoma generally does not.”  “These different policy choices—Texas's view which prioritizes parties ...

Blogs
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A couple years ago, the Illinois First District Appellate Court decided the case of Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, 2013 IL App. 120327.  There, the Court held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment are required to constitute adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant, regardless of whether the covenant was signed at the outset of employment or after, and regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.  Since then, some Judges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois have applied Fifield, and others have declined ...

Blogs
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If you are an employer with employees in New York (or elsewhere) who have signed an agreement containing a Florida choice of law clause and non-compete and/or non-solicit restrictive covenants, it may be time to revise your agreement.

We blogged last year regarding a decision of the New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department in Brown & Brown, Inc. v. Johnson, holding that a Florida choice of law provision in an employment agreement among a Florida corporation, its New York subsidiary, and a New York based and resident employee containing restrictive covenants is unenforceable ...

Blogs
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Alabama has a new restrictive covenant statute.  A few weeks ago, Alabama Governor Bentley signed new legislation which will repeal the 1975 version of Alabama Code Section 8-1-1 titled “Contracts restraining business void; exceptions” and replace it with a new version effective January 1, 2016.

The new law stakes out the permissible scope and purpose of restrictive covenants such as non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.  Unlike some other states with restrictive covenant statutes, Alabama’s new law codifies a middle-of-the-road approach to restrictive ...

Blogs
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In determining what is an impermissible “solicitation” by a current employee, the Illinois Appellate Court recently drew a distinction between officers and non-officers. See Xylem Dewatering Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Godwin Pumps of America et al. v. Szablewski et al., Case No. 5-14-0080 (Ill. App. 5th  Dist. 2014).

In Xylem Dewatering Solutions, the defendants were accused by their former employer of wrongfully soliciting customers and suppliers on behalf of a competitive business that they were planning to launch. According to the Appellate Court’s decision, while still ...

Blogs
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When an employee leaves his or her employment in California, under what circumstances may a former employee solicit his former employer's customers? Can non-solicitation agreements ever be enforceable under California law?
Blogs
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The high profile lawsuit filed on February 11, 2014 by Anschutz Entertainment Group against Shervin Mirhashemi and his new employer, Legends Hospitality, LLC, again raises the question of when a California Court of Appeal will decide whether employee non-solicits are enforceable in California.
Blogs
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A recent decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Reed Elsevier Inc. v. Transitions Holding Co., Inc., provides a useful overview of New York law on restrictive covenants.
Blogs
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A recent case stands as a reminder that there may be liability for writing an "overly zealous" - - and potentially inaccurate - - cease and desist letter.
Blogs
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Lawyers and clients alike often believe that it is easier to enforce a non-solicitation agreement than a non-competition agreement. Sometimes, that's true. However, that does not mean that companies can do so without demonstrating a legitimate business interest in the enforcement of that non-solicitation agreement.
Blogs
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Does the recent spate of antitrust challenges to no-hire agreements mean that negotiated no-hire provisions, which are commonly found in settlement agreements and commercial contracts, face an increased risk of being held unenforceable or, even worse, giving rise to a claim for damages?
Blogs
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Peter Steinmeyer, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice and Managing Shareholder of the Chicago office, was quoted in an article in Law360.com titled "5 Tips for Drafting Employment Pacts in the Social Media Era."
Blogs
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In a new case filed by Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. against former employees who staggered their departures to a competitor, we have a prime example of the risks involved when a team departs over time versus simultaneously.
Blogs
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In the latest salvo in a long-running legal dispute stemming from a classic raid by a competitor upon a commercial insurance broker's business and employees, a New York appellate court has refused to dismiss a New York lawsuit in favor of a prior-filed California lawsuit which has already addressed many of the same issues.
Blogs
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Although the California courts have steadily eroded employers' ability to contractually limit their former employees' solicitation of their customers, a recent decision held that a stipulated injunction limiting solicitation can still be enforced.
Blogs
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Continuing class action litigation against Google and Intuit arising from agreements between those and other companies to refrain from hiring each other's highly skilled technical employees -- which agreements previously were the subject of a Department of Justice complaint asserting antitrust violations -- serves to remind employers to carefully consider the costs and benefits of any no-hire agreements.
Blogs
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Over a dozen years after the New York Court of Appeals specifically recognized, in BDO Seidman v. Hirshberg, that an employer may have a legitimate and protectable business interest in preventing former employees from exploiting or appropriating the relationships and goodwill of its customers which had been created and maintained at the employer's expense, some New York courts still appear to be reluctant to uphold contractual provisions in employment agreements that are designed simply to protect customer goodwill.
Blogs
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In a recent New York case, a commercial insurance broker whose business and employees had been raided on a substantial scale by a former employee and competitor was awarded a preliminary injunction barring the former employee, the competing company, and certain other former employees from soliciting business from the broker's clients, and from soliciting other employees of the broker to join the competitor. The Court's finding of irreparable harm was premised on reputational harm and loss of confidence in the marketplace suffered by the broker due to the perception that the broker was badly "wounded" by the extent of the raid.
Blogs
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In a recent decision in the matter Alliance Bernstein, L.P. v. William Clements, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County (Justice Louis B. York), enjoined a former employee of AllianceBernstein, L.P. ("AllianceBernstein") from working for a competitor for 60 days, pursuant to a provision in an agreement requiring the individual to provide 60 days notice of his intention to resign. Although the original 60 days extending from the date of his resignation had already elapsed, the Court in effect granted a new 60 day period of non-competition, because the individual had started working for the competitor immediately upon his resignation from AllianceBernstein.
Blogs
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In an article published in the December 22, 2010 New York Law Journal (entitled "Nonhire Agreements as Antitrust Violations"), we discuss a complaint and proposed settlement filed in September 2010 by the Department of Justice against several well-known technology companies, which alleges that those companies entered into various bilateral agreements in which they agreed not to actively solicit each other's highly skilled technical employees, and that those agreements violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. The DOJ filed a similar suit on December 21, 2010 against another well-known company. Accordingly, companies who have entered or are considering entering into such agreements should review their practices to avoid unwanted attention from governmental authorities.
Blogs
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We previously wrote concerning a May 22, 2009 temporary restraining order granted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against three former employees of UBS Financial Services Inc. ("UBS"), in effect pending an arbitration hearing before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"). On June 3, 2009, UBS successfully moved the District Court to expand the TRO and for a preliminary injunction on the basis of additional evidence. The expanded TRO shows that even a plaintiff who has secured temporary injunctive relief from a court need not wait for a scheduled FINRA injunctive hearing if its business interests continue to be threatened in the interim.
Blogs
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A recent article in Lawyer USA discusses how litigation over noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements has been on the rise in recent years.
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A dispute between UBS Financial Services Inc. ("UBS") and three of its former brokers highlights various issues involving trade secrets and non-solicitation covenants in the financial services industry. On May 22, 2009, on UBS's motion in UBS Financial Services Inc. v. Lofton, Case No. 1:09 CV 367, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting the three individuals from soliciting any securities investment business from UBS customers pending an arbitration hearing before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA").

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