Noncompete opinions from the Massachusetts Superior Court are few and far between, so the two decisions that have been issued so far this year — one from Judge Peter Lauriat sitting in the Suffolk Business Litigation Section (BLS), the other from Judge Thomas R. Murtagh in Middlesex Cournty — are worth noting. Both judges are respected judicial veterans, and each decision illustrates a legal principle basic to this controversial and often confusing area of law.
The more note-worthy of the two cases is Judge Lauriat’s decision in Grace Hunt IT Soutions v. SIS Software, LLC. There are relatively few ways to wriggle out of a non-compete, but one that should be near the top of every lawyer’s list is the question whether there has been a “material change” in the employment relationship since the non-compete agreement was signed. If so, a “pre-change” non-compete may be unenforceable. In this case the court found that there had been such a change, and therefore it denied a motion for preliminary injunction to enforce the non-compete covenant against the defendants. … Read the full article