There is a new Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case, in which the Court held a non-compete was unenforceable: Lapman v. DeWolf Boberg & Associates, Inc., 2009 WL 757368 (4th Cir. 2009). In Lapman, the plaintiff, a former employee and shareholder, had been terminated and had went to work for Synergetics, a direct competitor of his former employer. Defendant brought a counterclaim to enforce the non-compete. Applying South Carolina law, the District Court granted summary judgment in favoring for defendant-employer, finding the non-compete to be enforceable because it “only prohibited [Lapman] from working for a direct competitor in positions similar to the ones he held at DBA.” Id. at *3.
On appeal, the Fourth Circuit began by noting that the non-compete explicitly stated that the plaintiff “will not, directly or indirectly, engage in Competition with [DBA]….” Id. at *6 (emphasis in original). However, the Fourth Circuit unanimously disagreed with the District Court and reversed: Continue reading