sales contractor non compete

I was subcontracted by a company to perform door-to-door solicitation for newspaper subscriptions. I signed a contract with a non-compete clause stating that for 2 years in PA I cannot work "directly or indirectly" at the same trade for any newspaper that the ompany HAS OR EVER HAD a contract with to perform door-to-door sales. I am thinking of quitting and starting to solicit door-to-door for another corporation contracted with a newspaper in another state over 50 miles away, that my current employer has had a contract with 2 years ago but not currently, but also could in the future. First, even if I am serving another paper, it doesnot prevent my former employer from doing business with them (they accept anyone to contract to solicit). Second, I will subcontracted through another middle man company and not signing directly with the newspaper. It is for CERTAIN that my current/former employer will want to go after me legally in any way possible. My research seems to show that his case will be difficult, however, legal bills themselves or a restraining order could cause me great problems. I need to know if the type of business I described allows me more security in pursuing my other interests. Thank you very much.

1 answer  |  asked Feb 28, 2004 1:05 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Complicated Question

First, I must state that I do not represent you, that we have not met and that I have not reviewed any documents or other material related to your question. Your documents, especially the non-competition agreement and facts which may not be contained in your question may substantially change my answer to your question.

That being said, your question is complex because of the involvement of two states. Each state generally views non-competition agreements under its own test; although the tests of many states are similar, there are always differences. Without knowing the state you are considering working in, I cannot fully evaluate your question. It is likely that Pennsylvania law will not apply to the enforcement of the non-competition agreement in another state.

Furthermore, the answer to your question seems to rest on your employer's business interest in dealings with the 'other newspaper.' In Pennsylvania, and in many other states, non-competition agreements must be reasonable in time and geographical scope and must reasonably relate to protecting a legitimate business interest of the employer. It appears that your current employer has no legitimate business interest in preventing you from working for a company servicing a client your employer does not have. However, without a detailed understanding of your employer's business the industry in general, I cannot give you a thorough answer.

If your employer does pursue you legally, it will cost you time and money regardless of whether you win. Depending on the state that the legal action is brought in, you may be able to recover your costs and attorneys' fees; however, there is never any guarantee that such recovery is possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at the below address or telephone number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
401 City Line Avenue
Suite 904
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Mar 1, 2004 08:10 AM [EST]

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