Finally, I would like to say that the defendants generally do not question the appropriateness of Riffe`s non-compete obligation. The courts have confirmed that similar TQL non-compete clauses with restrictive one-year time limits are enforceable while changing the scope of the agreements for the freight forwarding brokerage industry. See e.B. Total Quality Logistics, LLC v. OTC Logistics LLC, No. 1:19-cv-151, 2019 WL 1300223, at *3-4 (S.D. Ohio March 21, 2019). Therefore, riffe`s agreement would likely be deemed appropriate with the same amendment, limiting the agreement`s restrictions to reef participation in the truck brokerage industry. First, the Dangelo Court held that the national geographical restriction of the non-compete obligation was appropriate and enforceable.
The court then concluded that the one-year limitation period of the non-compete obligation was appropriate and enforceable. Id. to *3. However, the court found that it would be inappropriate to prevent the worker from working in the train, boat or aircraft brokerage industry because TQL was only active in the truck brokerage industry. Therefore, the court limited the agreement to the freight forwarding brokerage industry. Given that the parties have negotiated a one-year period of the non-compete obligation and that TQL is expected to benefit from its arrangement, Cain`s one-year ban will be fairly extended and the one-year non-compete obligation will be calculated from the date of this Order. In this case, the defendants argue that the terms of the agreement are so broad that they are unenforceable because, prima facie, Cain would be prevented from working as a janitor at a logistics company somewhere in the United States. The Court agrees that the agreement is too broad in its written form and, as appropriate in Dangelo, be amended to limit the agreement to the freight forwarding brokerage sector only. But even with the change, Cain`s employment at OTC clearly violates the deal, as OTC is a direct competitor to TQL, Cain is in exactly the same position as TQL (not a concierge), and Cain is said to have targeted TQL customers. (Id. at 23-24 ¶ 9(b)(i)-(ii)). The agreement defines the term “competing company” as “any person, company, company, or entity operating in the continental United States in the areas of shipping, third-party logistics, freight brokerage, truck brokerage, or supply chain management services.” (Id.
at 25 ¶ 9(f)). The agreement also prohibits Riffe from recruiting TQL customers or carriers, taking steps to distract TQL`s business, disrupting or attempting to disrupt TQL`s relationships, or recruiting TQL employees or former employees. (Id. at 24 ¶ 9(b)(iii)-(v)). In addition, the Agreement protects against disclosure of TQL`s Confidential Information, with Riffe agreeing not to use or disclose Confidential Information to persons or companies other than TQL and to return confidential Information in its possession in the event of termination of employment. (Id. at 22 ¶¶ 5-6, 24 ¶ 9(c)). TQL is an Ohio limited liability company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Doc. 2 to ¶ 14).
TQL provides freight brokerage and logistics services to clients in the continental United States. (Id. to ¶ 3). Riffe, a Kentucky resident, was born on September 9. He was employed by TQL in January 2012 until his voluntary dismissal on July 6, 2018. (Id. to ¶¶ 3, 6, 15, 32). During his time at TQL, Riffe held several positions, including Intern as Logistics Account Manager (“Broker Intern”), Logistics Account Manager (“Broker”) and Sales Group Leader. (Id. to ¶ 3).
During his time at TQL, Riffe participated in a training program (offered to all broker trainees) on topics such as TQL services, pricing structure, sales strategies, clients, and general operations. (Id. to ¶ 4). Riffe`s work familiarized him with TQL`s trade secrets and confidential information such as financial records, terms and conditions, and customer lists. (Id. at ¶¶ 5, 36). During his time at TQL, Riffe had extensive contact with TQL`s client Del Mar, whose contact was Brian Wright. (Id. ¶ 5). In Ohio, appropriate non-compete obligations are enforced and unreasonable non-compete obligations are enforced to the extent necessary to protect an employer`s legitimate interests. Procter & Gamble Co.c. Stoneham, 747 N.E.2d 268, 275 (Ohio Ct.
App. 2000). The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that “an agreement that prevents an employee from competing with his or her former employer in the event of termination of employment is appropriate if the restriction is not greater than necessary to protect the employer, does not impose undue hardship on the employee, and does not harm the public.” Raimonde v. Van Vlerah, 325 N.E.2d 544, 544 (Ohio 1975). Soup. 2d 848, 855 (“Any damage caused to [the defendant] would be a direct consequence of its own actions” in the event of a breach of restrictive agreements in a contract of employment). In assessing the appropriateness of a non-compete agreement, courts consider the following nine factors: (1) where the contract imposes temporal and spatial restrictions; (2) whether the employee has had contact with customers; (3) whether the employee has confidential information or trade secrets; (4) if the Confederation only prohibits unfair competition (5), if the Confederation stifles the intrinsic skills and experience of the employee (6), if the employer`s advantage is disproportionate to the detriment of the employee (7), if the Confederation destroys the employee`s only means of support (8), if the employee`s talent has developed during employment (9) and if the prohibited employment is only a minor subject of employment (9). Therefore, the Reef Agreement would likely be considered appropriate with the same amendment, which would limit the agreement`s restrictions on reef participation in the heavy brokerage industry. It`s true.
We had to hire two employees because TQL was legally after us. The effort is not worth it – he should never have signed the agreement. Riffe testified in his impeachment that he began discussing with Wright in the spring of 2018 the possibility of leaving TQL for Del Mar. (Riffe Depo. mit 43). Wright also considered starting his own brokerage firm around the same time. (Wight Depo., 85). It is legitimate. We had to lay off two employees because TQL is legally after us. It`s not worth it – he/she should never have signed the deal.
Wright was certainly aware of Riffe`s non-compete clause. (Id.) He forwarded a copy of Riffe`s non-compete agreement for review to an acquaintance of a lawyer, who said Riffe was “pretty well screwed up” because the deal had “almost every option on [c],” including the possibility of Riffe working “in-house” for Wright as long as he “worked in the role of managing or organizing transportation.” (Wright Depo. . . .