Dawson v. Ameritox Ltd.
December 19, 2013
United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
Defendant Ameritox is a provider of specialized services for healthcare providers. In 2011, Plaintiff Dawson negotiated an employment contract and began working as an Assistant Director for Ameritox. As part of the employment agreement, Dawson agreed to both a non-solicitation, as well as a non-compete agreement prior to his employment. In the agreements Dawson acknowledged that he would have access to confidential information, and agreed that he would not solicit Ameritox clients or work for competitors for one year following his employment. In late 2013, Dawson left the company to accept a position with Millenium, a direct competitor of Ameritox. After Dawson filed this action to seek a declaratory judgment invalidating the non-compete agreement, Ameritox removed the case to federal court and moved to preliminarily enjoin Dawson from working for Millenium.
On January 6, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama issued an order denying the injunction, on grounds that a non-compete agreement signed prior to employment is invalid in the state of Alabama. The court went on to consider whether the non-compete agreement constituted more than a partial restraint on the plaintiff’s trade, and whether non-solicitation agreements were barred by the Alabama statute, but ultimately rested its opinion on the pre-employment nature of the contract.