N.D. Ga.

Court Clarifies Scope of its TRO, Explains that Ex-Employee is Not Completely Barred from Working for Plaintiff’s Company Despite Trade Secret Theft Allegations

D.H. Pace Company, Inc. v. Johnson et al., Civil Action No. 1:22-cv-1005-SEG (N.D. Ga. July 1, 2022)

As we previously covered here, Plaintiff D.H. Pace Company, Inc. filed suit against Defendant Matthew Johnson and Defendant Liberty Garage Door Services, LLC on March 11, 2022 in the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta Division) where the Complaint–in part–alleged that Defendant Johnson stopped working for Plaintiff to start his own competing garage door company (Liberty) in Atlanta, stealing Plaintiff’s trade secrets and other confidential/proprietary information in order to “get an upper hand” and otherwise violating Plaintiff’s Confidentiality, Non-Compete, and Non-Solicitation Agreement.

On July 1, 2022, the Court issued an order clarifying the scope of the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued on June 3, 2022 which enforced Plaintiff’s noncompete covenant against Defendant Matthew Johnson. In relevant part, the Court’s Clarification Order explained that under the noncompete covenant the Court previously blue-penciled, while Johnson cannot have any ownership interest in Liberty, he is not prohibited from working for Liberty as an employee so long as Johnson has relinquished ownership of Liberty. The Court reasoned that to accept Plaintiff’s interpretation of the TRO–that Johnson is forbidden from working at D.H. Pace at all–would “logically resurrect the impermissible ‘any capacity’ restriction” the Court had previously struck from the parties’ noncompete agreement.

Categories: N.D. Ga., PI/TRO

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