COFFEE…DONUTS…AND BIG MONEY

What kind of blog post could follow the above title? Try this story taken from the pages of The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Starbucks Corp. says in a federal lawsuit it lost a key veteran executive to Dunkin’ Donuts and wants a Seattle, Washington judge to stop him from working there. Starbucks filed the lawsuit against its ex-employee, Paul Twohig, who oversaw the company’s retail operations in the Southeast. Starbucks accuses Twohig of breaching an 18-month, non-compete agreement.

Guess what Dunkin Donuts did in response to the lawsuit? How about paying $500,000 and agreeing that Mr. Twohig would complete his initial training but would not really start his job at Dunkin’ until Jan. 15, 2010. Mr. Twohig also reconfirmed his commitments not to share Starbucks’ trade secrets and other confidential information with Dunkin.

My Take: Although the report isn’t clear as to who paid the $500,000, my bet is that Dunkin Donuts paid it. I have two observations: First, having your new employer “buy-out” your non-compete with your old employer is certainly one way to resolve a dispute. Second, Mr. Twohig must be damn good at selling coffee and donuts!

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Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.