Federal Court in Texas Enforces Two-Year Non-Compete Agreement
A federal court in Texas has decided in favor of an employer to uphold a preliminary injunction against a former employee of Brink's, Inc., the well-known secure courier service. The Brink's opinion and order granting a preliminary injunction is intended to prevent the former employee from working for Brink's competition as the case continues to make its way through the court system.
The employee, Robert Greco, worked for Brink's for a number of years in a management capacity. During his employment with Brink's, Greco signed a confidentiality and non-compete agreement, agreeing not to compete with Brink's for a period of two years after leaving Brink's. Though Greco primarily worked out of Brink's Chicago office, he was also responsible for overseeing certain operations in Texas and several other states.
Greco resigned from his position at Brink's at the end of 2013. In early 2014, he went to work for Garda, one of Brink's primary competitors. Brink's sued Greco in Texas for breach of contract and fraud, alleging in part that his job with Garda violated the terms of the non-compete agreement he signed with Brink's.
Is this preliminary injunction a good sign for businesses in Texas?
In short, yes. The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to prevent harm while the parties wait for a trial. While a preliminary injunction is not permanent, it does mean the court believes the plaintiff is likely to win a permanent injunction at the eventual trial of the matter. To secure a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must show:
- There is a substantial likelihood the person seeking the injunction will prevail at trial;
- There is a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the plaintiff if the injunction is not granted;
- The likelihood of harm to the plaintiff outweighs the potential harm to the defendant caused by the injunction; and
- Granting the injunction will not impair general public interests.
In this case, Brink's was able to demonstrate each of these factors to the court's satisfaction.
Does the court's action align with established Texas law on non-compete agreements?
Again, the answer is yes. In this case, the non-compete agreement was meant to prevent Greco from performing similar work for a competitor within the same areas for two years. The court's decision comports with Texas state court decisions, which have upheld non-compete agreements which are not too broad in terms of time period, prohibited activities or geographical scope.
In issuing the preliminary injunction, the court agreed that the two-year restriction from performing similar work for a competitor in a similar geographic area was likely to be enforceable.
Can I enforce a non-compete agreement against a former employee?
If you believe a former employee is violating your non-compete agreement, consult with one of our experienced Texas business law attorneys as soon as possible to discuss your options. We also provide assistance to business owners and managers in evaluating and drafting non-compete agreements in Texas. Call our Brazos County, Texas business law attorneys at the Peterson Law Group at 979-703-7014 today or visit us online.