When I think of Loudoun County Virginia, I think of Oatlands – where I got married. I think of all the money I spent (and didn’t have) at Magnolia’s in Purcellville, or the time I spent at the Outlet Mall in Leesburg. I think of the coffee shop that is no longer next to the Tally Ho – or the great Leesburg Garden show that happens every spring. I also think of the special meals we would have growing up in Middleburg and what a treat it was to go there for a day to do Christmas shopping.
If you couldn’t guess, I used to be a Loudoun County resident. I grew up nearby in Haymarket (back when no one knew what Haymarket was) and spent a great deal of time on Route 15 passing by horse farms. And for the last 5 years, I have spent a great deal of time returning to the County to litigate various employment cases on behalf of clients.
On most days, Dan and I can assist Northern Virginia clients from Roanoke, over the phone. We can review, discuss, evaluate and negotiate non-compete cases from our lovely office in Roanoke. Sometimes however, these cases do end up before a judge and often times, given the business boom of Loudoun in the late 1990’s, these cases are heard in Leesburg before the Circuit Court judges.
I wanted to share with you some of the cornerstone cases regarding non-compete agreements that have come out of Loudoun over the past few years.
Want to know how the judges view these agreements? You are blessed in Loudoun County because the three circuit court judges (despite having an overwhelming case load) often write very detailed opinions.
And so, lets start at the beginning:
1996: Doctor Non-Compete Case (STATKUS v. LOUDOUN ANESTHESIA ASSOC. LLC)
The plaintiff, the Physician, asked the Court to determine (by filing a declaratory judgment action) whether the contract he had previously signed with his employer (the practice) was valid under Virginia law.
“The non-compete agreement barred the doctor from providing anesthesia services for anyone in the county other than those two medical facilities.”
The Court found that the agreement, limiting the doctor’s right to serve the entire county, was over-restrictive and therefore invalid.
OUTCOME: Victory for the little guy, against the company. Contract was over broad and invalid.
2005: Limo Driver takes clients from old company INTERNATIONAL LIMOUSINE SERVICE, INC. v. RESTON LIMO (my old firm worked on this case)
Employee leaves Reston Limo, starts his own company and uses old client lists to get new work. The plaintiff, Reston Limo, filed a Motion for a preliminary Injunction asking the Court to immediately hear evidence and rule that the employee was in breach of his contract and should be stopped by Court order.
“The Court having considered the likelihood of the Complainant’s success on the merits of its case, a balancing of the Complainant’s irrevocable harm if the preliminary injunction is not granted and the Defendants’ harm if it is granted” ruled the employee needed to abide by the Agreement. An injunction was ordered.
OUTCOME: Little guy employee got in trouble for breaking his agreement, stealing clients and the Court stopped him.
So here is my humble opinion on Loudoun County non-compete cases. They don’t like it when people take stuff they are not entitled to (client lists, trade secret information, etc)., and they don’t like when you breach and then ask. They like when people play by the rules, and ask permission FIRST.
Let us know if we can help you with a Loudoun County Non-compete.