I’ve had a number of clients over the years comment that noncompetition agreements aren’t enforceable. As a blanket statement, that’s simply not true, although some states — most notably California — severely restrict them.
It is true that courts aren’t big fans of restrictive covenants. And it’s not unusual for a court to refuse to enforce a noncompetition agreement. However, it’s often the case the problem lies in the noncompetition agreement itself when considered in the context of applicable law.
A case in point is the noncompetition agreement at issue in NanoMech v. Suresh, an 8th Circuit case which was filed last month. In that case, NanoMech tried to enforce a noncompetition agreement against a former employee who went to work for a competitor. Applying Arkansas law, the federal district court refused to enforce the noncompetition agreement, and the 8th Circuit affirmed the decision.