Columbus, OH (PRWEB) May 21, 2014
Attorney Lisa Wafer from The Law Offices of Saia & Piatt, Inc. recently obtained a victorious case result for a client who was being sued by the automobile accessory installation company that formerly employed him, according to the case’s decision and judgment entry (Auto Options v. Marion, Case No. 2013-CFV-030978 in Franklin County Municipal Court in Columbus, Ohio, judgment entry on May 9, 2014).
The company sued Attorney Wafer’s client for $3,500 in damages for allegedly violating a provision of his employment contract that prohibited him from working for a competing business within six months of ending his employment with the plaintiff company. With Attorney Wafer’s effective legal representation, the defendant received a judgment in his favor, which prevented him from having to pay any damages to his former employer.
According to the decision and judgment entry, the employment contract provision that was allegedly violated was “an interesting hybrid between true a non-compete clause and a liquidated damages provision.” The court ultimately decided that the plaintiff’s contract provision did not meet the non-compete clause criteria for a number of reasons, which included the following: the defendant was technically laid off before he sought employment with the competing business, the defendant’s inability to work for the other business would cause him undue hardship, and stopping the defendant from working for the company would solely serve the purpose of harming the competing business rather than protecting the legitimate business interests of the plaintiff. The court also made its decision based on the fact that the defendant already had certain skills before working for the plaintiff and that he did not have client contacts or trade secrets that could have posed an actual threat to the former employer, according to court documents.
The court also ruled that the former employer’s contract provision was invalid as a liquidated damages provision, according to the decision and judgment entry. For this type of provision, both parties in the contract agree that a contract breach will result in a requirement for damages to compensate the employer. The liquidated damages amount specified in the plaintiff’s and defendant’s contract was $3,500, and the plaintiff was claiming these damages for lost training expenses. After the plaintiff sued the defendant for this amount in liquidated damages, Attorney Wafer’s client countersued the plaintiff for the same amount, court records show.
In this case, the court ruled that the claim for the liquidated damages was not valid because the damages would serve as a penalty to the former employee rather than actual compensation, according to the court documents. Furthermore, the court ruled that the amount of proposed damages would have been overly burdensome on the defendant, and that the entire employment contract could be considered a contract of adhesion. The defendant had been presented with the contract while he was on a lunch break and was told that it must be signed immediately in order for him to return to work after lunch. Court documents show that because the court also rejected the defendant’s counterclaim, neither party was required to pay the $3,500.
Attorney Wafer practices general civil and business litigation, as well as other types of law. She has nearly a decade of legal experience. The Law Offices of Saia & Piatt, Inc. is a Columbus, Ohio law firm that provides high-quality legal representation to individuals who are dealing with various types of legal matters. The firm’s attorneys are backed by more than 100 years of collective experience. More information about The Law Offices of Saia & Piatt is available at http://www.splaws.com.