At least once a month I receive a postcard in the mail from a local, regional or national realtor about homes sold recently in my neighborhood. These glossy postcards typically feature a specific real estate agent with his or her photo, name and telephone number. What these postcards don’t tell you, however, is whether the agent is subject to a non-compete agreement. Because I’m always looking for interesting topics to discuss related to restrictive covenants, this seventeenth article in The Restricting Covenant series explores realtors, real estate agents and non-compete disputes.
Make no bones about it, non-compete disputes can be litigious, contentious, and downright nasty. Someone breached another’s trust or loyalty; or stole something valuable from someone else; or didn’t uphold his or her end of the bargain. Battle lines are drawn. Nevertheless, there are codes of civility, professionalism, and rules of law that must be followed. So, you would think that when a court enters an order granting injunctive relief consistent with the parties’ non-compete agreement, the order would be followed, right? Read on. In this sixteenth article of the Series, I discuss a few extreme examples of litigants in non-compete disputes who failed to comply with court orders, resulting in significant monetary damages and other sanctions.
Highly valuable trade secrets, corporate espionage, elaborate schemes to evade detection, and national defense implications. Have I piqued your curiosity? I hope so. In this fifteenth article of The Restricting Covenant series, I discuss two cases that involve individuals and business enterprises charged by the federal government with stealing valuable trade secrets from U.S.-based companies. The stakes are extremely high on all sides.
Let me begin by explaining that this article does not focus on the janitorial profession and whether non-competes in that profession are enforceable. That’s a topic for another day. Instead, this fourteenth article in The Restricting Covenant series discusses a concept that some courts and litigants refer to as the “janitor analogy” or the “janitor test,” when analyzing or illustrating the overbroad scope of a non-compete provision.
In Any Capacity?
The janitor analogy is most often invoked in cases where the employer’s non-compete agreement prohibits a former employee from being employed or affiliated with a competitor “in any capacity” or “in any manner.”
If you’ve ever purchased an automobile, you know that haggling for a good deal is either the best, or the worst, part of the car-buying experience. That new car smell is pretty memorable too. No matter the aroma or the final purchase price, however, in order to drive home in that shiny new vehicle, you ultimately must agree to give the dealership a certain amount of money, known in legal terms as “consideration.” This concept of consideration is equally important in the non-compete world, as explored in this twelfth article in The Restricting Covenant Series, through the lens of a hypothetical car salesman.
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).