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Greenwich Mills Co. v. Barrie House Coffee Co. - 91 A.D.2d 398, 459 N.Y.S.2d 454 (App. Div. 1983)

Rule:

A restrictive employment covenant will be subject to specific enforcement only if it is reasonable in time and area, necessary to protect the employer's legitimate interests while being not unreasonably burdensome to the employee, and not harmful to the general public.

Facts:

Plaintiff brought an action for breach of non-solicitation covenant alleging that its sales people assumed similar positions with defendant competitor within the nine-month non-competition agreement. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment was denied by the trial court. Defendants appealed.

Issue:

Is the non-solicitation covenant between the plaintiff and its former employees enforceable?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff even though it found that state law prohibited enforcement of a non-solicitation covenant absent trade secrets or other special circumstance. However, without a trial or full discovery, contested issues remained on the validity of the covenant and summary judgment was inappropriate.

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