Non-Compete Agreements

In the First Circuit, restrictive covenants are governed predominately by statute (with the exception of Puerto Rico, which governs such agreements through common law). Within the last year, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire have amended their restrictive-covenant statutes to prohibit employers from requiring lower-wage earners to sign noncompete agreements. A recently proposed amendment to Massachusetts law, if passed, would render all noncompetition agreements void and unenforceable effective January 1, 2021. These efforts reflect increasing hostility towards, and increased scrutiny of, restrictive covenants in the First Circuit.

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As in other states, the enforceability of restrictive covenants or non-compete clauses in the Sixth Circuit turns primarily on the reasonableness of the restriction’s geographic and temporal scope. Michigan has enacted a statute explaining when non-competes may be enforced. In Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, enforcement is determined entirely by common law. In Ohio and Tennessee, courts will consider the public interest in addition to the interests of the parties involved.

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After a week-long trial in June, a jury in the Southern District of Texas awarded digital marketing firm Six Dimensions, Inc. (Dimensions) $287,000 for its breach of contract claim against its former employee, Lynn Brading. However, the jury rejected Dimensions’ $50 million lawsuit against its competitor, Perficient Inc. (Perficient) for stealing its trade secrets.
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States within the Fourth Circuit vary in their enforcement of restrictive covenants. Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina govern the use of restrictive covenants through common law while North Carolina governs through statute. Despite the variations in governing authority, many of the factors used in these states will be familiar, given the widely accepted “reasonableness” standard

As in most states, the enforceability of restrictive covenants or non-compete clauses in the Fifth Circuit turns primarily on the reasonableness of the restriction’s geographic and temporal scope. Louisiana and Texas have enacted statutes explaining when non-competes may be enforced. But in Mississippi, enforcement is determined entirely by common law, and courts will consider the

In the Third Circuit, common law generally governs the use of restrictive covenants. States in this Circuit employ a reasonability standard to determine whether a restrictive covenant is enforceable. In New Jersey, even if a covenant is found to be reasonable, it may be limited in its application by: geographical area, period of enforceability or

States within the Seventh Circuit employ the reasonability standard used in many other circuits to determine whether a restrictive covenant is enforceable. Two of these states, Illinois and Indiana, apply a common law framework but largely disfavor such covenants as a restraint on trade. Wisconsin’s restrictive covenant statute focuses on the reasonableness of the agreement

On March 22, 2019, the State of Utah amended its non-compete statute for the third time in only three years.

“Strike One” came in 2016, when the State of Utah enacted Utah Code Annotated 34-51-201 et seq.to restrict the validity of post-employment restrict covenants to no more than one year from the date on

Each of the states within the Eleventh Circuit governs the use of restrictive covenants through statutes. Generally, both Florida and Alabama permit the use of restrictive covenants where the restrictive covenant is “reasonably necessary” to protect a legitimate business interest, but the legitimate business interest requirement is applied differently in both jurisdictions. Alabama law prohibits