Reliable Fire Equip. Co. v. Arredondo

Plaintiff sells, installs, and services fire extinguishers and fire suppression and fire alarm systems, which it designs for commercial customers. Defendant Garcia, hired as a systems technician in 1992, became a sales person. In 1997 he signed a noncompetition agreement. Defendant Arredondo, a salesperson, signed a noncompetition agreement about a week after being hired in 1998. The agreement prohibited competition during their employment and for one year after termination in Illinois, Indiana, or Wisconsin and prohibited solicitation of plaintiff's customers, referral sources, and employees. In 2004 defendants formed a competing company; Arredondo resigned, Garcia was fired. The trial court found the covenants unenforceable and a divided appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court remanded. Assessment of a covenant includes analysis of the employer's legitimate business interest, based on the totality of the circumstances.Factors include, but are not limited to, the near-permanence of customer relationships, the employee’s acquisition of confidential information through his employment, and time and place restrictions. No factor carries any more weight than any other,