Posts tagged with "pursue his occupation"

Court Enforces Non-Compete Agreement for Niche Water Purification Company

KX Industries, L.P. v. Saaski, 1997 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2444
Case Background

Mr. Bruce Saaski worked for KX Industries, L.P., a manufacturer and distributor of solid carbon block water filters, from December 1993 to April 24, 1996, as the company’s Technical Support Manager.  His employment contract with KXI contained several restrictive covenants that prohibited him from using or disclosing confidential and proprietary information without the prior written consent of KXI, maintaining personal copies of the company’s confidential information, or working for an industry competitor.  The “industry competitor” restriction applied for one year after Mr. Saaski’s termination but the covenants pertaining to KXI’s confidential information were indefinite.

Mr. Saaski terminated his employment with KXI and began to work at Water Safety, a direct competitor, shortly thereafter.  Additionally, he failed to return copies of confidential information to KXI’s management upon his termination.  KXI sued Ms. Saaski for violation of the non-compete agreement he signed as part of his employment contract and sought a court injunction to enforce its provisions.  Ms. Saaski presented several arguments to the court as to why the agreement was not valid or enforceable.

The court rejected his assertions however and found in favor of KXI, granting their request for enforcement of the non-compete and confidentiality covenants. Mr. Saaski attacked the non-compete on the basis that its lacked consideration, arguing that there existed a prior employment agreement obligating KXI to employ him for a two-year period.

The Court’s Decision

The court held that Mr. Saaski did not present adequate evidence to prove the existence of a prior employment agreement and pointed to the language of the December 1993 agreement to show that Mr. Saaski gave consideration for the agreement when he agreed to the restrictive covenants contained therein. Furthermore, Mr. Saaski contended that the restrictions were unreasonable because they were overly broad in scope, specifically referring to the prohibition on working for a company “similar to” or in “competition with” KXI.

To determine if this language was in fact overly broad the court heard testimony from KXI’s Chief Executive Officer where he stated that there were only four competitors that the non-compete applied to: Honeywell, Culligan, Multipure, and Water Safety, Mr. Saaski’s new employer.  The court found this to be restricted in scope and not overly broad to disproportionately favor KXI’s interests.  The restriction applied only to a small section of the water purification industry and KXI’s CEO provided a plethora of companies that Mr. Saaski could work for without violating the non-compete agreement.

The court found the overall non-compete and confidentiality covenants to be reasonable and concluded that they did not place excessive restriction on Mr. Saaski’s ability to pursue his occupation and earn a living.  Accordingly, the court found in favor of KXI and enforced the provisions of the non-compete agreement.

 

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 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.

Enforcing a Non-Compete Agreement in the Connecticut Insurance Industry

Grayling Associates, Inc. v. Villota, 2004 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1859
Case Background

Grayling Associates, Inc., an executive recruiting agency for large national insurance companies, employed Mr. Albert Villota from October 2002 to April 8, 2004.  The parties executed a non compete agreement at the start of Mr. Villota’s employment that prohibited him from working at a competing firm within a one hundred mile radius of Grayling’s Connecticut office for a period of two years after his termination.

He began to work at a direct competitor, Park Avenue Group, Inc. (PAG), after he voluntarily terminated his employment with Grayling.  The company sued Mr. Villota in Connecticut state court and sought the enforcement of the provisions contained in the non-compete agreement.

The Court’s Decision

The court found in favor of Grayling and granted the company’s request for injunctive relief.  It enjoined Ms. Villota from working at PAG or other companies in competition with Grayling until April 8, 2006, the end of the two-year period as stipulated in the non-compete agreement.  The court went on to confirm that the time and geographical restrictions in the agreement were reasonable so that they properly balanced the interests of the parties.

The major point of contention in the case focused on the one hundred mile radius restriction.  Grayling was based in Hartford, referred to by many in the business world as the “insurance capital of the world” and as such, the nature of its services was very dependent on its location and proximity to the city.

Many of the nation’s most prominent insurance firms have their headquarters in Hartford and Mr. Villota’s actions within the vicinity of the city could negatively affect Grayling’s business interests and operations.  Grayling noted that the non-compete agreement allowed for the application of the “blue pencil rule” that would allow the court to modify the terms of the geographical restriction.  The court held that the restriction was enforceable as stated in the agreement and enforced the one hundred mile radius provision to protect Grayling’s legitimate interests.

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 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.