Marcia Cooke (Melanie Bell)
In a battle to enforce a noncompete agreement, a federal judge sided with a wireless company against a former sales manager who lives in Miami.
U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke in Miami issued a preliminary injunction sought by Herndon, Va.-based Corning MobileAccess Inc. against former employee Cindy Torres on March 13.
Torres went to work for Reach Holdings LLC, which does business as SOLiD Technologies. CMA alleged breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims.
The decision “strengthens the ability of companies to enforce narrowly tailored covenants not to compete at the preliminary injunction stage,” said attorney Steven D. Brown, a Richmond, Va.-based shareholder at LeClairRyan who represented CMA.
CMA is engaged nationally in supporting converged wireless indoor networks that support multiple wireless voice and data services, also known as Distributed Antenna Systems, or DAS. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SOLiD Technologies competes in the DAS industry.
The injunction prohibits Torres from working at SOLiD until Dec. 31. She also was barred from using CMA’s proprietary and confidential information or contacting any CMA customers.
Attorney Donna Ballman, who represents workers in lawsuit, said Florida businesses will learn that workers will leave the state because of onerous noncompete agreements. She said California doesn’t enforce noncompete agreements anymore and Massachusetts is getting ready to abolish them.
“If Florida wants to stay competitive in the tech sector and other entrepreneurial areas of business, it’s going to have to look at banning or substantially limiting noncompetes,” Ballman said. “Until then, lawyers like me who represent employees in defending against them will stay busy.”