A recent decision by the New Jersey Appellate Division is a glaring reminder for employers in New Jersey and elsewhere to review their employee handbooks, manuals and other codes of conduct periodically to ensure that their employment at-will disclaimer language is clear and prominent in compliance with the seminal decision on this issue, Woolley v. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. 99 N.J. 302, modified, 101 N.J. 10 (1985), and its progeny.
In this eleventh article in the continuing series “The Restricting Covenant,” I discuss the “Restatements of the Law,” which, while not law per se, are important secondary legal sources that should not be overlooked when tackling thorny restrictive covenant disputes.
Relevance of the Restatements in Non-Compete Cases
In many states, decisions regarding the validity and enforceability of non-compete agreements are made pursuant to the “common law.” The common law is a body of law developed over a course of time from judicial decisions and rulings. The Restatements of the Law attempt to “restate,” organize, and explain the common law of the United States. They are organized into 15 different areas of law, including Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Judgments, Property, Restitution, Torts and Trusts. They are published by the American Law Institute (ALI) and written by professors, judges and private attorneys. Each “statement of law” has a specific section, and each section is accompanied by “Comments,” “Illustrations” (with hypos), and “Reporter’s Notes” (with case citations).
In this tenth article in the continuing series “The Restricting Covenant,” I discuss non-competition issues that arise in the orthopedic medical device industry.
I would venture to say that, in the past 20 years, the orthopedic medical device and equipment industry is at the top of the charts for high-stakes litigation and precedent-setting rulings with respect to non-competition and non-solicitation disputes. Many orthopedic medical device and equipment companies have sued each other and their former employees, sales representatives, independent contractors, vendors, consultants or distributors for violating the terms of their restrictive covenants. These companies have sought injunctive relief and money damages.
This year’s Halloween festivities, my recent binge watching of “Stranger Things 2,” and Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, inspired the topic of this ninth article in “The Restricting Covenant” Series, which discusses tolling provisions in non-compete agreements and restrictive covenant cases. Specifically, can a tolling provision provide judicial relief to an employer if its former employee hid under the cover of darkness and concealed violations during the restricted period? What relief do employers have in this situation?
This eighth article in “The Restricting Covenant” Series discusses some recent trends in the evolving area of restrictive covenant law, non-solicitation agreements, and Internet social media networking, including sales representatives’ use of LinkedIn to contact and communicate with customers and other business relationships.
A decade or so ago, social media networking platforms on the Internet were new to me. I had just heard of this thing called “LinkedIn” as a new way to connect with my former classmates and other acquaintances. It was touted as an easy, cost-free way to communicate with them about my professional accomplishments and career developments. In many ways, your LinkedIn profile is your virtual resume to the world. Therefore, like millions of others, I created a LinkedIn profile, sent and received connection requests, and made posts.
By Lawrence J. Del Rossi – with special thanks to Summer Associate Joshua Lattimore for his assistance.
The start of the new school year, and kids around the country sharpening their pencils to learn in earnest (or at least I hope they are) sparked the topic for this seventh article in this Series. It discusses restrictive covenants and the “blue-pencil” doctrine – a tool many courts use to modify overly broad restraints on post-employment business activities.
Why “Blue” Pencils?
Being the legal geek that I am, I was curious about the origins of the blue-pencil doctrine, including how it got its name, how it applies in restrictive covenant cases, and which states have adopted it given that restrictive covenant law varies state by state.