Retention of Confidential Information is a Clear Breach of Non-Compete According to Connecticut Court
TyMetrix, Inc. v. Szymonik, 2006 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3865
Mr. Peter Szymonik worked for TyMetrix, Inc. from July 2002 to March 10, 2005 as the Director of Client Services and then as Vice President of Technical Operations beginning in January 2004. TyMetrix was a technology company that provided web-based systems for its clients in order to implement electronic invoicing, performance management metrics, matter & document management, budgeting, forecasting, and generating other business reports. The company’s typical clients included the legal departments of Fortune 500 companies, law firms, and insurance companies. The company operated within the United States but at the time had potential clients in the United Kingdom and Australia. Mr. Szymonik signed an employment agreement in July 2002 and the document contained several post-employment restrictive covenants. The non-compete agreement prohibited him from: 1) retaining, using, or disclosing any confidential information, 2) working for a competing enterprise for two years following termination, 3) soliciting TyMetrix’s clients (current or prospective) during those two years, and 4) soliciting or hiring any TyMetrix employee during those two years.
TyMetrix terminated Mr. Szymonik on March 10, 2005 and he proceeded to form a new company, SpectoWise, Inc., on July 5, 2005 where he served as its president. In his capacity as the president of the new company, he solicited several TyMetrix clients and employees to join his firm and even hired at least one former TyMetrix employee. TyMetrix also asserted that Mr. Szymonik retained copies of some of the company’s confidential information. He claimed that he was only retaining the information to assist in litigation with TyMetrix and had not used its content in connection with the business operations of his new company or for any other personal gain. TyMetrix sued Mr. Szymonik in Connecticut state court and asked the court to grant injunctive relief by enforcing the provisions of the July 2002 non-compete agreement.
The court found in favor of TyMetrix, concluded that Mr. Szymonik had indeed breached a valid non-compete agreement, and ordered the covenant enforced. Mr. Szymonik presented several defenses that the court ultimately rejected in its legal analysis. He asserted that his new company, SpectoWise, offered very different services from TyMetrix and further argued that the non-compete was unenforceable because the company wrongfully terminated his employment. As for the claim that the companies were vastly different, the court analyzed SpectoWise’s marketing material and discerned that it was abundantly clear the companies essentially offered the same services to their clients. Furthermore, the court held that Mr. Szymonik’s termination was not in bad faith and did not go against public policy. He failed to present any evidence to demonstrate that TyMetrix had violated any “expressed statutory or constitutional provision or judicially derived public policy” when it terminated his employment. The court also held that Mr. Szymonik’s retention of TyMetrix documents was unlawful on its face and was a clear breach of the non-compete agreement. It was irrelevant why Mr. Szymonik retained the documents because the mere fact that he still possessed the confidential information was a violation of the employment agreement.
The court’s legal analysis of the dispute indicated that there was in fact a breach of the non-compete agreement and that TyMetrix was likely to succeed on the merits of its claim. These two factors led the court to find in favor of the employer (TyMetrix) and ordered the enforcement of the restrictive covenant that the parties had executed in July 2002.
If you have any questions relating to your non-compete agreement or would like to discuss any element of your employment agreement, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.