Thank you, Rob.
If this is governed by NJ law, then NJ law applies.
In NJ, there is not statutory law
on non-competes. The Courts have developed principles based on case law, however.
Generally, New Jersey courts will only enforce restrictive covenants if they are reasonable in scope and duration.(Community Hospital Group, Inc. v. More, 869 A.2d 884 (N.J.
Because New Jersey disfavors restraints on trade, restrictive covenants are narrowly construed (J.H. Renarde, Inc. v. Sims, 711 A.2d 410 (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div. 1998)).
To determine if a non-compete covenant is reasonable, New
Jersey courts use a three prong test which has to have the party trying to enforce it show that:
-Is necessary to protect the parties’ legitimate interests
-Does not cause undue hardship on the former employee
- Is not against the public interest.(Solari Indus. v. Malady, 264 A.2d 53 (N.J. 1970).)
You can see a complete breakdown here
.(1) Would a Non-Compete prohibit me from joining the new company given the differences in responsibilities? Texas is at At Will Employment State and new responsibilities would not be with any of the account base I currently handle.
Texas is an at-will employment state, but at-will discusses the fact that one may come and go as they please, or be hired/fired at will. It has nothing to do with non-competes.
So this does not apply here. What applies here is the three-prong test above, based on NJ law because this is where the law and jurisdiction lie, per the contract.
Assuming it is violated, the party violated can be sued for (1) breach of contract
and (2) tortuous interference with business. However, it would then be up to the Court to decide whether or not the non-compete is enforceable based on the test above. Since every case is different, it depends on the matter at hand; one cannot "foresee" what the Court will state.
So it is whether or not the company chooses to enforce the contract, and, whether or not the court will agree that it is reasonable and thus, enforceable.(2) Current Non-Compete makes me responsible for all attorney's fees associated with enforcement of the non-compete. What is the high side of the potential financial impact?
This can run into thousands- 5k or even 7k. That is again if they win. If not, then you would not be saddled with the legal fees.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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