1/1/2016Earlier today, it was reported that a local downtown Brooklyn paper sued one of its former reporters, and secured a temporary restraining order (which in legalese, is also known as an injunction) barring him from working for a competing periodical, based upon a six-month non-compete agreement that he had previously signed.
And in reporting on this story, it appears that the reporter settled out with the plaintiff, paying the paper over $2,000 in order to get out of the non-compete.
Granted, I am not privy to much of the pertinent facts of this case, but I am puzzled by one thing: what conceivable "trade secret" did this reporter possess such that his non-compete agreement should be enforced?
And here's why that's important: As noted in "When a Non-Compete Agreement is Enforceable Under New York Law," an employer's interests will only be protected when it's necessary to needed to prevent a former employee from wrongfully breaching his fiduciary duty and wrongfully reveal the employer's confidential and/or proprietary information that it expended time, money and effort to develop."
But if you're looking as to why the defendant settled with plaintiff, the reason should be fairly obvious: for a nominal plaintiff costing a mere $2,000 some-odd dollarts, the defendant was free to work wherever and whenever he wants.