Do You Get Excited By Noncompetes?

I know I do.

That's why I enjoyed this new 11th Circuit opinion that wades into the sometimes-murky waters of enforceability of noncompetes in Florida:
In 1996, Florida adopted Fla. Stat. § 542.335, which "contains a comprehensive
framework for analyzing, evaluating and enforcing restrictive covenants contained
in employment contracts." Envtl. Servs., Inc. v. Carter, 9 So.3d 1258, 1262 (Fla.
Dist. Ct. App. 2009). For a restrictive covenant to be valid, "[t]he person seeking
enforcement of [the] restrictive covenant shall plead and prove the existence of
one or more legitimate business interests justifying the restrictive covenant." Fla.
Stat. § 542.335(1)(b). Section (1)(b) of the statute enumerates a non-exhaustive
list of "legitimate business interest[s]." Among these are: (1) "[v]aluable
confidential business or professional information that otherwise does not qualify
as trade secrets"; (2) "[s]ubstantial relationships with specific prospective or
existing customers, patients, or clients"; and (3) "[e]xtraordinary or specialized

In addition, to be enforceable, restrictive covenants must be reasonable with
regard to time, area and line of business. Fla. Stat. § 542.335(1). Once an
employer establishes a prima facie case that the contractually specified restraint is
"reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate business interest[s] . . . justifying
the restriction," the burden of proof shifts to the employee to show that "the
contractually specified restraint is overbroad, overlong, or otherwise not
reasonably necessary to protect the established legitimate business interest[s]."
Fla. Stat. § 542.335(1)(c). If the court finds that the "contractually specified
restraint is overbroad, overlong, or otherwise not reasonably necessary to protect
the legitimate business interest[s]," the court is required to "modify the restraint
and grant only the relief reasonably necessary to protect such interest or interests."
Ooh baby, keep on singing that sweet song, I could listen to it all night long.

Seriously, though, despite this very straightforward hornbook statement by the 11th, here is yet another area of Florida law needlessly messed up and complicated by years of crappy opinions and imprecise or thoughtless language by DCAs across the state.

But hey, it's Florida, that's how we roll.

Anyone know who the district judge was on this?

VIP Followers

Info recommended by: Webpages of law

Popular entries