In Stay Alert Safety Services, Inc. v. Fletcher, 2005 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1915, Mr. Christopher Fletcher began to work at United Rentals, Inc., a North Carolina company in the traffic safety and control industry, starting in February 2003. He signed an employment agreement upon accepting the job offer wherein the agreement contained a non-compete provision. According to the restrictive provisions, he was prohibited from working at a competing company located within two hundred miles for a period of two years after his termination.
The company felt it needed to protect its legitimate interests due to Mr. Fletcher’s access to its customer lists, cost information, and pricing schemes. Mr. Fletcher’s employment was terminated on June 8, 2004, and he proceeded to start a new company, Traffic Control, with his wife. He essentially performed the same services as he had previously in connection with his employment at United Rentals.
Stay Alert Safety Services, Inc., a company with headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut, acquired United Rentals in January 2005 and its legal department concluded that Mr. Fletcher and other employees’ non-compete agreements were assignable and could be transferred to the possession of Stay Alert. Stay Alert sued Mr. Fletcher in Connecticut state court for breach of the non-compete agreement and asked the court to enforce the restrictive covenant that he had signed with United Rentals.
The Court’s Decision
The Superior Court sitting in Bridgeport found in favor of Stay Alert and ordered the enforcement of the non-compete agreement. It held that the agreement’s provisions were reasonable given the circumstances of the case and that Stay Alert was entitled to injunctive relief because of the contractual breach. Mr. Fletcher argued that he had not actually signed the non-compete agreement and therefore its restrictions were not applicable.
The court rejected this argument and noted that Mr. Fletcher’s signature appeared on page six of the employment agreement right above his typed name. He claimed that it was not his signature so the court called in a handwriting expert to ascertain whether it was in fact his signature. The expert, Dr. Marc Seiter, concluded that it was Mr. Fletcher’s signature and the court agreed with this finding. A signed employment agreement coupled with reasonable provisions meant that the restrictive covenant was valid and enforceable.
The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment and corporate law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. If you have questions regarding non-compete agreements or any employment matter, contact Joseph Maya at 203-221-3100 or by email at JMaya@MayaLaw.com.