Non-Compete Enforceability

colorado non-compete lawOn August 10, 2022, Colorado’s new statute further restricting non-competition and non-solicitation provisions becomes effective. The new law, which passed earlier this year, continues Colorado’s trend toward increased scrutiny of post-employment restrictions and adds Colorado to the growing list of states that restrict the use of out-of-state choice of law and forum provisions in agreements that contain such restrictions.
Continue Reading Colorado Poised to Further Restrict Post-Employment Restrictions

new jersey state flagOn May 2, 2022, the New Jersey Legislature introduced Bill A3715, adding to the growing number of states seeking to curtail the use of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements by employers. While passage of the bill is uncertain, A3715, if enacted in its current form, would make New Jersey one of the most inhospitable forums for employers seeking to enforce such agreements. Among a number of sweeping changes, including outright banning the use of post-employment restrictive covenants against a broad range of workers and otherwise limiting their duration to a maximum of 12 months, the proposed law further requires employers to pay 100 percent of the separated employee’s wages and benefits during the duration of the restricted period.

Key features of the bill include:
Continue Reading New Jersey Introduces Proposed Legislation Limiting Use and Enforceability of Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements

aesthetician non-compete lawsuitA Superior Court in Massachusetts has allowed an aesthetician’s lawsuit to proceed against her former employer after it sought to enforce her allegedly void restrictive covenant.

After being terminated by defendant Vanity Lab, the plaintiff and aesthetician Tori Macaroco established her own business providing aesthetician services. Macaroco then received a cease-and-desist letter from a New York law firm, citing the contract she signed as a Vanity Lab employee that contained various restrictive covenants preventing her from “solicit[ing] any employees or patients/customers of Vanity Lab, attempt[ing] to persuade any customer, patient, or employee from leaving Vanity Lab’s services, or reveal[ing] any of Vanity Lab’s confidential information.” The letter also stated that Macaroco was prohibited from practicing as an aesthetician for one year following the end of her employment with Vanity Lab. The letter further advised Macaroco that Vanity Lab would take legal action to enforce its rights in the event of a breach of her contract.
Continue Reading Aesthetician’s Proactive Suit Puts a Wrinkle in Spa’s Attempts to Mar Her Reputation

The ongoing saga of Washington, DC’s expansive non-compete bill appears to be nearing its end, as the DC Council recently scaled back the originally passed “D.C. Ban on Non-Compete Act of 2020.” While the amended law still imposes significant restrictions on non-compete agreements for employees living or working primarily in DC, the most recent revisions are a step away from the near-total ban on non-competes that the Council originally passed. The new provisions go into effect on October 1, 2022, barring an unlikely veto from Congress or further revisions from the DC Council.
Continue Reading Washington, DC’s Non-Compete Bill Revised Again

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently set its sights squarely on non-compete agreements in merger transactions, making them ripe for further scrutiny. In a Consent Order issued June 14, 2022, the FTC ordered GPM Investments LLC and its parent company ARKO Corp. to roll back provisions it deemed “anticompetitive” in GPM’s May 2021 acquisition of 60 Express Stop retail fuel stations from Corrigan Oil Company. Under the FTC’s order, ARKO and GPM agreed to limit the non-compete agreement that it imposed on Corrigan, and return five retail fuel stations in several local Michigan markets. This decision comes on the heels of a June 10th statement by the FTC’s Chair Lina M. Khan, joined by Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro M. Bedoya, warning businesses that contract terms in merger agreements that potentially impede fair competition would be highly scrutinized.
Continue Reading FTC Further Scrutinizes Use of Non-Competes in Merger Transactions

Nearly five years ago, the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (“MNAA”, also sometimes abbreviated as the “MNCA”) went into effect. That statute ushered in new requirements for non-competes in the Bay State (including not only residents of Massachusetts, but also those who are merely employed in Massachusetts). Among the MNAA’s requirements is a forum selection provision that purports to require civil suits related to non-competes to be brought exclusively in the county in which the employee resides, or if both parties agree, in Suffolk county in Massachusetts.

Despite being in effect for nearly a half-decade, there have been relatively few published cases interpreting the MNAA (see here and here for a synopsis of a couple of those cases). Recently, however, a federal judge in Virginia weighed in on the statute’s forum requirement, determining that a suit against a Massachusetts employee could proceed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, rather than be dismissed and re-filed in Massachusetts.
Continue Reading Massachusetts’ “Provincial” Forum Selection Requirement May Not Trump Reasonable Foreign Forum Selection Clause

On March 8, 2022, Excel Sports Management, LLC commenced an action in the Supreme Court of New York, Commercial Division, alleging that its former Vice President of Basketball Partnerships, Eric Eways, resigned his employment in favor of employment with Klutch Sports Group, LLC, in violation of a restrictive covenant in his employment agreement. The non-compete, governed by New York law, prohibited Eways from working for Klutch and other specifically-named competitors for eight months post-separation.   
Continue Reading New York Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court’s Denial of Preliminary Injunction and Enjoins Former Employee from Working with Rival Sports Management Agency

federal restrictive covenant legislationLast week, in connection with a House Oversight hearing, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to restrict confidentiality provisions from covering claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The “Accountability for Workplace Misconduct Act,” H.R. 8146, appears to be a federal effort to expedite the state-level trend to exempt discrimination, harassment, and retaliation information from confidentiality restrictions.

Over the last decade, lawmakers at the state and federal level have introduced and passed legislation designed to limit the reach of confidentiality provisions in certain circumstances. Those modifications include:
Continue Reading House Introduces Legislation Restricting Confidentiality Provisions in Settlement Agreements

In the fourth installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Kate Perrelli, Matt Simmons, and Robyn Marsh discussed restrictive covenant agreements (“RCAs”), including non-competes, non-solicitations, and NDAs. Plus they discussed best practices and practical tips companies can implement regarding restrictive covenant agreements. View a recording of this webinar here.

As a follow up to this webinar, our team wanted to highlight:
Continue Reading Webinar Recap! Anatomy of a Restrictive Covenant

There are limited exceptions to California’s general prohibition of post-termination non-competition agreements. One such exception is the sale of business exception found in California Business & Professions Code § 16601. This exception allows a buyer to enforce non-compete agreements against a seller if the seller is an “owner of a business entity selling or otherwise disposing of all of his or her ownership interests in the business entity.”

In Blue Mountain Enterprises, LLC v. Owen, 74 Cal. App. 5th 537 (2022), the Court of Appeal found that section 16601 applied to a three year post-termination non-solicitation of customer provision in an employment agreement and upheld the trial court’s decision to enforce the provision against the executive/seller who entered into a joint venture. The court found that section 16601 applied as a matter of law because the defendant “dispos[ed] of all of his … ownership interest” in one transaction agreement while concurrently agreeing under an employment agreement and that both contracts, along with other contracts the parties executed, were drafted to accomplish the parties’ joint venture.  Id. at 553. The court also found that the trial court correctly found that the defendant’s letter for his new business constituted a solicitation as a matter of law because the letter went well beyond an announcement by actively encouraging customers to leave and do business with his new company. Id. at 556.
Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Enforces Non-Solicitation of Customers Provision in Joint Venture Transaction Involving Key Employee