Is an 18 year old non-compete agreement enforceable?

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2015

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Is an 18 year old non-compete agreement enforceable?

When I was hired I signed a contract agreeing to not open a similar business within a 25 mile range of our office. Now I want to open my own company using my home address but working in the same general area. The buisness I work for has relocated their office out of state but we still work in the area. Is the contract still binding?

Asked on April 15, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You have strong arguments for challenging the enforceability of the non-competitive agreement if you open your home business and the company takes legal action against you.

To be enforceable, the non-competitive agreement has to be reasonable in terms of scope, duration, and proximity.  A court can limit the effect of the non-competitive agreement by modifying its terms.

In your case, the non-competitive agreement should no longer be enforceable since the company has moved out of state and therefore, your home business is more than 25 miles from the company office.  More importantly, the non-competitive agreement has to be of reasonable duration.  It is unreasonable for the company to claim that the non-competitive agreement is still in effect after eighteen years.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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