Law School Case Brief
Lakeside Oil Co. v. Slutsky - 8 Wis. 2d 157, 98 N.W.2d 415 (1959)
Wis. Stat. § 103.465 provides that a covenant by an employee not to compete with his employer after the term of his employment within a specified territory and during a specified time is lawful and enforceable if the restrictions imposed are reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer. This section also provides that such restrictive covenant imposing an unreasonable restraint is void and unenforceable even as to so much of the covenant or performance as would be a reasonable restraint.
Plaintiff employer filed an action to enjoin defendant salesman from violating the terms of a contract not to compete after a term of employment. Defendant had worked for plaintiff as a salesman in a highly competitive business, developing plaintiff's customers and serving as their main contact. The parties signed a non-compete agreement restricting defendant's employment following termination as to the single county in which he primarily worked and for two years. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant appealed.
Is the non-compete agreement between the parties legal?
The court affirmed the injunction, explaining that the contract was not illegal under Wis. Stat. § 133.01, that plaintiff had a legitimate interest in protecting its customers, that the time and place restrictions were reasonable, and that the restriction was not unduly oppressive to defendant relative to the potential harm to plaintiff if the contract was not enforced.
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