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Supreme Court of Louisiana
June 29, 2001, Decided
[*296] [Pg 1]
KIMBALL, Justice 2
We granted a writ of certiorari to resolve a split among the circuit courts of appeal regarding the proper interpretation and application of La. R.S. 23:921, relating to noncompetition agreements. For the reasons that follow, we interpret the limited exception found in § 921(C) to the general nullity of such agreements to apply only to those agreements in which the employee agrees to refrain from carrying on or engaging in his own business similar to that of the employer. Because the language in the noncompetition agreement [**2] presented in this case goes beyond this limited exception, it is unenforceable. The judgment of the court of appeal affirming the trial court's refusal to grant an injunction in favor of the former employer is therefore affirmed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff, SWAT 24 Shreveport-Bossier, Inc. (SWAT), is a construction [Pg 2] company specializing in insurance restoration work following disasters such as fires, floods, and hail storms. As a licenced contractor, SWAT provides both immediate, twenty-four hour emergency repair, and subsequent restoration of the home to its former condition.
SWAT first employed defendant, Robbie Bond, in September 1992, as a carpenter helper. Bond received periodic promotions and, in January 1998, he was promoted to production manager. 3 In connection with this promotion, Bond entered into an Employment Agreement with SWAT that specified the term of the agreement and Bond's duties, compensation, and benefits. Additionally, the Agreement contained a "Non-Competition" clause that provided:
[**3] In exchange for giving him confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets to be used in his employment, Employee covenants and agrees that during his employment and for a period of two (2) years following the termination of his employment for whatever reason, he will not, within the parishes of Caddo, Bossier, Webster, Claiborne, Lincoln, Union, Jackson, Ouachita, Desoto, Red River, [*297] Sabine, Bienville, Winn, Caldwell parishes of Louisiana and the municipalities of Shreveport-Bossier, Coushatta, Monroe, Louisiana and East Texas and Southern Arkansas:
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
808 So. 2d 294 *; 2001 La. LEXIS 2026 **; 144 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P59,426; 2001-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P73,355; 00-1695 (La. 06/29/01);
SWAT 24 SHREVEPORT BOSSIER, INC. v. ROBBIE BOND
Subsequent History: [**1] As Corrected August 3, 2001.
Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEAL, SECOND CIRCUIT, PARISH OF BOSSIER.
Disposition: AFFIRMED AND REMANDED.
engaging, non competition agreement, carrying, customers, competitor, soliciting, competing business, termination, noncompetition, compete, two year, former employer, restoration, legislative intent, public policy, trial court, refrain, own business, provisions, contracts, employer and employee, court of appeals, indirect, statutory interpretation, null and void, municipalities, restrictions, employees, agrees, argues
Labor & Employment Law, Conditions & Terms, Trade Secrets & Unfair Competition, Noncompetition & Nondisclosure Agreements, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Covenants, Computer & Internet Law, Intellectual Property Protection, Trade Secrets, Customers of Former Employers, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Case & Controversy Requirements, General Overview, Employment Contracts, Customers of Former Employer, Overbreadth, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment, Definition of Employees, Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Intent, Mootness