Group Concepts, Inc. v. Barberino, 2004 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1036
Group Concepts, Inc. is a Connecticut corporation that is in the business of condominium association management and has its office in Hamden. The company entered into a stock purchase agreement on September 11, 2002, to purchase Barberino Real Estate, Inc., a company that managed condominiums and other properties. Group Concepts had Ms. Tina Barberino sign a non-compete agreement as part of the acquisition transaction. In exchange for $84,500, Ms. Barberino agreed not to compete with Group Concepts “within the state of Connecticut until September 2004 and from soliciting any of the clients listed on schedule B of the stock purchase agreement for a period of three years”.
Ms. Barberino began to work at Ennis Property Management, Inc. on October 5, 2003 and competed directly with Group Concepts within the state of Connecticut. She contacted clients enumerated on schedule B of the stock purchase agreement and Group Concepts lost several accounts because of Ms. Barberino’s actions.
Group Concepts sued Ms. Barberino in Connecticut state court for breach of the non-compete agreement and requested an injunction to prevent further violations of the restrictive covenant. The court granted Group Concepts’ request for an injunction and ordered the enforcement of the non-compete clause through September 30, 2004 and the non-solicitation clause through September 11, 2005, the respective dates as stated in the restrictive covenant.
The Court’s Decision
In order for a court to grant a temporary injunction, the moving party must submit evidence that demonstrates: 1) it does not have an adequate legal remedy, 2) it would suffer irreparable injury absent the injunction, 3) it would likely prevail on the merits of the case, and 4) the injunction would balance the equities of the parties involved in the dispute. The court said it need not apply the entire test in this case and only analyzed the third and fourth components to hold that the agreement was enforceable and an injunction was warranted.
The court concluded that a preponderance of the evidence submitted by the parties indicated that Group Concepts would most likely prevail on the merits of its suit. The provisions of the non-compete agreement were reasonable and the facts of the case clearly pointed to a cognizant breach of the non-compete agreement. The court concluded that the overall fact pattern of the case demonstrated that Group Concepts would likely prevail on the merits and held that the company met this requirement for the granting of the injunction request.
The court also held that an injunction would balance the equities of the parties. The court felt that an injunction and enforcement of the non-compete was necessary to protect Group Concepts from experiencing a significant business hardship in connection to Ms. Barberino’s breach of the covenant. Group Concepts paid substantial consideration ($84,500) for its acquisition of Ms. Barberino’s company and relied on it to prevent Ms. Barberino from breaching the non-compete and non-solicitation provisions. An injunction would prevent Group Concepts from experiencing adverse business trends because of Ms. Barberino’s undeniably unlawful breach 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.