What to do bout the violation of a non-compete agreement?

For the last 5 years I’ve been running a martial arts studio In my town and hired a friend to instruct with me. Knowing that I would be sharing many business details with him and hiS getting close to my clientele, I drafted a very simple statement on paper and had us both sign and date it. The document is titleD as a “Non Compete” and states that he “will not open or operate another martial arts studio that is within 25 miles of the current location within 2 years of his last date of employment”. His last day was a week ago and I found out he is opening a studio 10 miles away. Can I stop him?

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You probably can stop him, though possibly not for the entire two years. Non-competition agreements are enforceable; when one is breached, the former employer can sue for either or both of monetary compensation (constituting compensation for a loss or potential loss of clients or revenue) and/or for a court order (injunction), directing the former employee to cease his competition. It's recommended that you seek both, so that if the court does not grant one for some reason, it may grant the other.

Courts will reduce--or "blue pencil"--non-competition agreements that they conclude are too long or too broad in geographic scope. It is likely that the geographic scope is accceptable, but most non-competiton agreements, except for former business owners who sell their businesses, are limited to one year at most. So the court may reduce the duration of the agreement.


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