Am. Broadcasting Cos. v. Wolf

52 N.Y.2d 394 (1981)

 

RULE:

A court normally will not decree specific enforcement of an employee's anticompetitive covenant unless necessary to protect the trade secrets, customer lists or good will of the employer's business, or perhaps when the employer is exposed to special harm because of the unique nature of the employee's services. And, an otherwise valid covenant will not be enforced if it is unreasonable in time, space or scope or would operate in a harsh or oppressive manner.

FACTS:

Parties had a contract where P employed D as a sports broadcaster, which contained a non-compete clause. D breached the contract and went to compete with P's competitor. Though P was not harmed by the breach, P still sued to enjoin competition, and the court denied the suit, ruling in favor of D. P now appeals.

ISSUE:

Can P enforce the non-compete agreement against D.

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The court affirmed the judgment for the defendant sports reporter because his simple breach of contract, absent a covenant not to compete, or threat of tortious conduct, did not warrant injunction against his employment with plaintiff's competitor after expiration of term of parties' contract, and there was a policy against anticompetitive agreements.

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