General Parts Distribution LLC v. Perry (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-02-1200, 6 pp.) (Terrence W. Boyle, J.) 5:12-cv-00310; E.D.N.C.
Holding: The plaintiff-employer waited nearly six months from the time of the defendant-employee’s termination before seeking enforcement of the parties’ covenant not to compete, and additional months passed before the matter was heard by this court. Plaintiff’s lack of urgency suggests that its fear of irreparable harm is less than dire.
Additionally, defendant is far from an essential employee. He was one of at least 150 regional managers around the country, indicating that his role in the company was far less critical than plaintiff would have this court believe.
Finally, plaintiff has shown no evidence that defendant actually took any confidential information or trade secrets with him when he was abruptly let go. Moreover, defendant’s position requires him to work mostly in north Denver, and it appears that there is minimal overlap between this territory and the south and southwest Denver territory for which he was responsible while working for plaintiff. As such, the risk of irreparable harm, if existent, is remote and slight.
Plaintiff also failed to show that the balance of the equities tips in its favor. Given that there is so little time remaining in the covenant not to compete’s 12-month restrictive period, the court sees little benefit to requiring defendant to cease or limit his employment with Elliot Auto Supply. On the other hand, if defendant, whose only apparent career experience is in the automotive industry, were forced to cease his employment or move to a different territory serviced by Elliot Auto Supply, he could suffer extreme hardship. As such, plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction is denied.