Greenberg Traurig Wins Dismissal of Florida Non-Compete Agreement Case for All In Removal

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Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Fort Lauderdale Litigation Practice Shareholder Paul B. Ranis obtained a dismissal with prejudice in favor of his client All In Removal in the case Edward C. Hodge v. All In Removal, LLC. The case went to trial on Jan. 12, 2023 and a Final Judgment was entered by the Eighth Judicial Circuit on Jan. 17, 2023.

Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Fort Lauderdale Litigation Practice Shareholder Paul B. Ranis obtained a dismissal with prejudice in favor of his client All In Removal in the case Edward C. Hodge v. All In Removal, LLC (Case Number: 38-2022-CA-000066). The case went to trial on Jan. 12, 2023 and a Final Judgment was entered by the Eighth Judicial Circuit on Jan. 17, 2023.

The matter involved Derby Gold Pine Shavings owner Edward C. Hodge, who also owned a small portion of All In Removal, challenging the validity of a non-compete agreement he had signed with All In Removal, which purchased products routinely from Derby Gold Pine Shavings. After All In Removal began purchasing fewer products from Derby Gold Pine Shavings, Hodge filed an action seeking declaratory relief to relieve him of compliance with the non-compete agreement.

In Judge Craig C. DeThomasis’ final judgment dismissing the case, the judge ruled that the plaintiff was “seeking a judicial advisory opinion to gain business leverage” and that “obtaining advice from trusted counsel [in such matters] is appropriate, seeking a judicial advisory opinion is not.” Finally, the judge found that the plaintiff “has not met the burden of establishing that there is an actual bona fide dispute with a justiciable question as to the existence of his rights and/or a bona fide, actual need for the declaratory relief being sought.”

“We thank both the court for its decision in this matter and Paul for his outstanding work on our behalf,” said Ms. Judy Lewis, the corporate representative for All In Removal.

Mr. Ranis noted that the decision is particularly important as it came in a case testing the validity and enforceability of a Florida non-compete agreement – especially as it relates to owners of a company.

“I believe the final judgment demonstrates the Court’s thoughtful consideration of the key issues in this case,” said Mr. Ranis, who has conducted more than 25 state and federal trials and handled more than 400 depositions as part of his broad commercial and employment law practice. “The decision properly rejects the legal strategy of certain companies and individuals seeking declaratory relief involving a Florida non-compete agreement before they compete to gain business leverage for future dealings.”

Greenberg Traurig associates Sabrina D. Niewialkouski and Austin Bodnar assisted Mr. Ranis in the matter.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice: Greenberg Traurig’s Litigation Practice includes a team of more than 600 attorneys. The firm’s trial lawyers regularly appear in state and federal courts throughout the country, as well as in appellate courts and before international arbitration panels. They work closely with in-house counsel to develop a strategy that best fits a litigation cost and proficiency model appropriate to the client’s unique needs and goals.

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2500 attorneys in 43 locations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm reported gross revenue of over $2 Billion for FY 2021 and is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law 100, Am Law Global 100, and NLJ 250. On the debut 2022 Law360 Pulse Leaderboard, it is a Top 15 firm. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab and the Center for Resource Solutions Green-e® Energy program certifies that the firm’s U.S. offices are 100% powered by renewable energy. The firm is often recognized for its focus on philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono. Web: http://www.gtlaw.com.

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Leslie Kraft Burke
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