In this article I discuss a lesser known judicially created doctrine that is equal parts confusing in application and sweeping in scope for litigants involved in restrictive covenant disputes – the Economic Loss Doctrine (ELD).
You’re probably reading the title of this article and saying, “He’s gone bonkers! What does ‘radius’ and Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven’ have to do with restrictive covenants?”
This article is for all you inner mathematicians and geometry aficionados. More to the point, it is for those who draft, interpret and litigate non-compete agreements that contain geographic restrictions. When I heard that Google Earth had launched a new tool to measure distance and area, it sparked memories yonder of an esoteric, but very important, issue that is litigated occasionally in non-compete cases, and now the subject of the twentieth article of this Series.
It is becoming commonplace for employers to use web-based clickwrap agreements with their employees either as part of onboarding (e.g., employment agreements) or during the course of employment (e.g., stock award agreements). These clickwrap agreements can include important post-employment restrictive covenants. Are these covenants enforceable?
Most litigators will attest that court reporters and transcribers are essential to the litigation process because they provide a verbatim record of depositions and other court proceedings. Court reporters are extremely patient, courteous, and obviously great listeners. Often times, we lawyers tend to have our “favorites” – you know, the court reporters who you work with repeatedly because they pick up your preferences and other linguistic quirks. I typically think of court reporters as “independent contractors” who would not be bound by traditional non-competition agreements. But when I learned about cases in some jurisdictions enforcing restrictive covenants involving court reporters, I had to write about a few of them in this eighteenth article of the Series.
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.