U.S. - Missouri

2016.08.03  Panera Wins TRO vs IT Exec who Joined Papa Johns.  Panera's successful effort to obtain a temporary restraining order reflects the importance of drafting noncompetes both to assure they are supported by adequate consideration, and to be smartly tailored to make it apparent that the employer is protecting legitimate business interests (rather than over-reaching). Here is an excerpt from the court's ruling:

  • Under Missouri law, non-compete covenants are enforced if they are reasonable under the circumstances and their enforcement serves legitimate protectable interests. Mayer Hoffman McCann, P.C. v. Barton, 614 F.3d 893, 908 (8th Cir. 2010). Here, the non-competition agreement at issue limits Nettles’ employment for only one year, which is reasonable. See Alltype Fire Prot. Co. v. Mayfield, 88 S.W.3d 120, 123 (Mo. Ct. App. 2002) (finding a two-year limitation on employment reasonable). Further, Nettles has accepted employment with a company specifically included in the agreement’s discrete and reasonable list of competitors, which appears to be, for purposes of the TRO, an actual competitor to Panera. Therefore, the Court finds the agreement reasonable and valid, and concludes that Panera will likely succeed on the merits. 

2012.Nov.2  Choice of Law: Missouri vs. Oklahoma. See TLC Vision (USA) Corp. v. Freeman, 2012 WL 5398671 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 2, 2012) - discussed in Pollard Blog.

2012.Aug.14 Mo. Sup. Ct. Reaffirms General Standards for Enforcing Non-competition Clauses.
See Whelan Security Co. v. Kennebrew, 2012 Mo. LEXIS 167, reiterating the standards set forth in Healthcare Servs. of the Ozarks, Inc. v. Copeland, 198 S.W.3d 604 (Mo. 2006), namely that non-competition agreements are enforceable to the extent they are reasonable and necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate protectable interests.