Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog

Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog

News & Updates On Developments in the Law of Restrictive Covenants, Unfair Competition & Trade Secrets

Tag Archives: tortious interference

Lack of Actual Knowledge of The Existence of a Non-Compete Defeats Tortious Interference Claim

Matthew Savage Aibel

In Acclaim Systems, Inc. v. Infosys, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently rejected a claim for tortious interference with a non-compete, because the plaintiff introduced no evidence of actual knowledge that the individuals in question were covered by non-competes.

Infosys, an IT services company, bid on a job from Time Warner Cable (“TWC”) that had been serviced by a competitor, Acclaim. TWC decided to transfer the project over to Infosys, but wanted Infosys to hire four contractors who previously worked with Acclaim on the project.

Infosys acceded to TWC’s request, but first reached out to … Continue Reading

Michigan Federal Court OKs Former Employer’s Cease and Desist Letter to New Employer

When an individual threatens to disclose a company’s confidential information gained during employment at the company to a new employer, the common first reaction by the company is to send a “cease and desist” letter to the individual, and also a similar letter to the new employer. Yet before sending such a cease and desist letter to the new employer, the company may wonder whether it is opening itself up to potential liability — on a tortious interference claim by the individual — if the new employer should turn around and fire the individual on the basis of the allegations … Continue Reading

Not in My Backyard: Bringing Claims Against Employees In the Corporate HQ’s Home State May Not Be as Easy As You Think

By Nancy L. Gunzenhauser and Ian Carleton Schaefer.

How can an employee of a national employer not “work” where her employer works? How can such an employee not be subject to suit in the corporation’s backyard?

According to a recent New Jersey state court decision, a technology consultant for a New Jersey corporation who worked in Illinois and provided no services to New Jersey based clients could not be subject to suit in New Jersey. This decision is instructive for technology companies with a significant national workforce (particularly if they leverage remote/agile workers) in how to structure the employment … Continue Reading

Conditional Privilege and its Impact on Tortious Interference Claims

On Monday, June 4, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in James Nation v. American Capital, Ltd. Nation was previously the CEO of The Spring Air Company. He left Spring Air in 2007 and received a severance package worth about $1.2 million payable over a period of 15 months. Spring Air subsequently paid Nation about $836,000 under that agreement. However, before it could pay Nation the remainder of the severance payments, Spring Air ran into financial trouble. As a result, it suspended Nation’s severance payments (as well as those of several other former company executives) in … Continue Reading

Missouri Supreme Court Affirms Tortious Interference Verdict Against Manager Who Went To A Competitor

In Western Blue Print Company, LLC v. Myrna Roberts et al., the Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed a tortious interference verdict against a manager who left to join a competitor, largely because the manager engaged in inappropriate conduct when departing one employer for another.

Tortious interference claims are commonly raised in disputes with former employees who leave to join a competitor. However, actual determinations of the merits of such claims are not common, and state supreme court parsings of such claims are even less common. Accordingly, this decision is worth reviewing.

As set forth in the opinion, Western Blue … Continue Reading

Florida Court Accepts Novel Defense to Claim of Tortious Interference with Non-Compete Agreement

When a former employee is in violation of a non-compete agreement, the former employer often files suit not just against the former employee for breach of contract, but also against the new employer for tortious interference. Under Florida law, the elements of a tortious interference claim are as follows:

(1) the existence of a business relationship; (2) knowledge of the relationship on the part of the defendant; (3) an intentional and unjustified interference with the relationship by the
defendant; and (4) damages to the plaintiff as a result of the breach of the relationship.

The Second District Court of Appeals’ … Continue Reading