Category Archives: Procedural issues

Former Employer Bounced From Court – Forced to Arbitrate Noncompete Claims

A recent decision from Judge Kaplan in the MA Business Litigation Session highlights some interesting issues that arise when a noncompete case is complicated by the existence of an agreement to arbitrate claims. In Tibco Software, Inc. v. Zephyr Health, Inc. and Kevin Willoe,  Kaplan required a plaintiff seeking to enforce restrictive covenants to arbitrate – rather than litigate in court – claims against both the former employee and his new employer.… More

Employees Barred from Bringing Claims After a Noncompete Trial

            Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported last month on a Massachusetts federal court decision that barred former employees from suing their former employer for unpaid overtime, commissions, and bonuses after a trial over the employees’ noncompete agreements because the claims either should have been brought against the employer in the first lawsuit or were litigated as defenses at the trial.  I offer some analysis in the article, and would only add that the procedural doctrines of collateral estoppel and compulsory counterclaims that the judge relied on are not new,… More

Massachusetts Federal Court Takes Jurisdiction Over “One-Man” Georgia Corporation Whose Agent Allegedly Stole Trade Secrets in Massachusetts

            In a decision from March that has only recently garnered media attention, Judge Rya Zobel of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts concluded that a Georgia corporation whose agent allegedly stole trade-secret information from a company’s office in Waltham, Massachusetts could face a lawsuit in Massachusetts.  The plaintiff, BGI Inc., is a Massachusetts corporation that makes environmental monitoring equipment such as air samplers and airflow meters.  Its former president,… More

Noncompete Enforced Despite Hiring Company’s Best Efforts to Preserve Former Employer’s Secrets

This decision by a federal judge in Massachusetts enforcing a non-competition agreement is notable for at least two reasons: (1) it presents yet another example of a court in Massachusetts rejecting an argument that California law should govern a non-compete dispute, and (2) it contains an interesting discussion of the hiring company’s substantial but unsuccessful effort to avoid the noncompete by taking steps to ensure that the new employee protected the confidential information of his previous employer. … More

Noncompetes and Races to Courthouses

An increasingly common scenario in the world of noncompete enforcement is the so-called “race to the courthouse,” where parallel actions are brought in separate jurisdictions about the same dispute. In one case, the former employer seeks enforcement of the noncompete. In the other, the employee and his or her new employer seek an order declaring that the noncompete is unenforceable. Many of these situations involve California as the location of the new employer.… More

Federal Court Denies Injunction on Procedural and Substantive Grounds

This decision from the United States District Court in Boston, denying a request for a preliminary injunction to enforce non-competition and other restrictive covenants, is notable for a few reasons. First, the federal court in Massachusetts issues relatively few decisions involving requests to enforce noncompete and/or nonsolicitation agreements; a published decision from a federal judge — in this case from Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. — is inherently of interest. More importantly,… More