On July 29, 2015, the 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s entry of a preliminary injunction that enforced a non-competition clause and a non-solicitation provision contained in an employment contract. Turnell v. Centimark Corporation, No. 14-2758 (7th Cir. July 29, 2015). The employment agreement contained restrictive covenants that barred the employee from competing with the employer or soliciting its customers for two years after termination. Fired after 35 years, the employee defected to a competitor. Litigation ensued. The court enjoined the employee from selling his former employer’s products to its customers in the Midwest for two years.
The court exercised its discretion to narrow or “blue pencil” the contractual restrictive covenants by limiting their geographic scope, excluding prospective customers, and allowing the employee to work for the competitor, subject to compliance with the modified restrictions.
Although the employee worked for his original employer and its competitor in Illinois, the court applied Pennsylvania law to determine the enforceability of the restrictive covenants, pursuant to a choice-of-law provision in the employment agreement.